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A Study in Social Pathology and the 
Politics of Fascism 











THE phenomenon of Fascism has stimulated the writing and publi- 
cation of an impressive number of histories, descriptions, eulogies, 
and indictments. This literature has increased manyfold since the 
political upheaval of 1933 * n Germany. None of the studies of Ger- 
man Fascism thus far published, however, offers a comprehensive 
and definitive analysis of both the Nationalsocialist movement and 
the new Nazi State. There has not yet appeared an adequate account 
of the almost incredible events of the "revolution." Neither is an> 
full and critical treatment available of the organization, philosophy, 
and strategy of the NSDAP, despite the highly useful treatises of 
Konrad Heiden, Ernst Ottwalt, E. A. Mowrer, Calvin Hoover, Mil- 
dred Wertheimer, and other commentators. 

The present work aspires to meet these needs. It attempts to ana- 
lyse and evaluate recent and contemporary German politics in terms 
of the concepts of a Political Science which is not merely descriptive 
of political ideas, public behaviour, and governmental institutions. 
A realistic Political Science must concern itself with the social 
contexts of power relationships, with the established procedures for 
the distribution of material and psychic values in society, and with 
the value hierarchies which emerge and persist in the body politic. 
It must likewise endeavour now more than ever in the twilight of old 
ideologies and State-forms to disclose the effects of economic change 
upon social deprivations and insecurities and to reveal the conse- 
quences of insecurities for the invention and propagation of political 
symbolisms. Institutionalizations of power are meaningful only 
against the background of these underlying configurations. The 
processes of politics, in the narrower sense, can be dealt with intelli- 
gently only in terms of the struggle for power between social groups 
and in terms of the basic weapons of power in all cultures: violent 



and non-violent coercion; emotional conditioning or conversion 
through propaganda; and the wise and masterly distribution of ma- 
terial emoluments. The present volume is concerned with the use of 
these weapons by the NSDAP in its struggle to conquer and retain 
power in the Reich, with the economic and psychological genesis of 
German Fascism, and with its implications for the social order in 
Germany and throughout the world. 

No effort to apply this approach to the Nazi Dictatorship can be 
wholly comprehensive, since the new Totalitarian State has political- 
ized all aspects of communal life. Considerations of space have re- 
quired the omission of much manuscript material (some of it pub- 
lished elsewhere in articles and monographs) dealing with the earlier 
politics of tho Weimar Republic, the Church conflict, the foreign 
policy and the international economic and political position of the 
Third Reich, and various social aspects of the new dispensation. In 
most other respects, however, this book is intended to be a reasonably 
complete study of the politics of Nazi Germany. 

A wholly definitive study is still impossible, since many indispen- 
sable sources of information, such as the party archives and accounts, 
are closed to scholars. With regard to many events, judgments must 
be based upon admittedly incomplete evidence. These difficulties, 
which always beset the student of contemporary politics, are aggra- 
vated here by the determined and well-organized efforts of the new 
German regime to discourage incisive research into its methods and 
objectives and to misrepresent many of its goals and techniques for 
reasons of political expediency. Deception is a political imperative 
in all government. In the Third Reich it is an applied science and a 
fine art. The most that can be expected from the products of scholar- 
ship in such a situation is that they shall show painstaking effort to 
gather all available data, to disclose reality, and to reach tentative 
conclusions which stand some chance of survival in the light of facts 
as yet undisclosed. It is the author's hope that such expectations will 
prove to be justified with regard to this study. 

Materials for the present work were gathered in Germany in the 
course of an eight months' sojourn during 1933. 1 went to Berlin with 
a research project originally formulated when the Weimar Constitu- 
tion still survived and when the Nazi movement was declining and 
disintegrating. I journeyed toward a land I had already known and 
enjoyed as the home of music, philosophy, and GemtitUch%eit and as 


the birthplace of my Prussian and Hanoverian ancestors, now 
strangely transmuted into "Aryans" and "Nordics." Upon my arrival 
in April of the year of the Nazi seizure of power I found the Reich 
in process of violent, if orderly, transition from parliamentary de- 
mocracy to Fascism. 

The intellectual and emotional impact of developments which 
seemed at first utterly improbable in the absence of knowledge of 
their causes led me to devote most of my time to the study of Na- 
tionalsocialism through reading, interviews, and attendance at all 
the great political festivals and demonstrations. I spoke with hun- 
dreds of people of all ranks, confessions, opinions, and occupations. 
Several foreign correspondents then in Berlin were of invaluable 
assistance in my investigations. By the older German .officials I was 
invariably received with courtesy and granted as much co-operation 
as was consistent with considerations of political and personal safety. 
By the newer Nazi administrators I was invariably received with 
evasions and complex circumlocutions or, as in the case of Hanf- 
stangl, with gross and clownish discourtesy bred of psychic insecurity 
and conceit. Despite these obstacles I managed to carry through my 
inquiries to a point which seemed to justify publication. 

My public acknowledgments are due in the first instance to the 
donors of the James-Rowe Fellowship of the American Academy of 
Political and Social Science, without whose aid I could not have spent 
the year 1933 abroad. My thanks are likewise due to the Social Science 
Research Committee of the University of Chicago for financial as- 
sistance in preliminary research and in the subsequent organization 
and writing of the book. I am also deeply grateful to Dr. Joseph 
Werlin, now of the University of Houston, for indispensable bibli- 
ographical and research work; to Mr. Richard Bauer of Lewis Insti- 
tute, Chicago, for his counsels in Berlin; to Dr. Albert Lepawsky of 
Chicago for making available to me materials which he brought back 
from the Reich in 1934; to Gerhard Scger for first-hand information 
about his own illuminating experiences; to my esteemed and stimu- 
lating colleagues Professors Harold D. Lasswcll, Melchior Palyi, 
Harold F. Gosnell, Quincy Wright, and Charles E. Merriam for 
their willingness to peruse certain portions of the manuscript and 
for their most helpful suggestions for its improvement; to Miss 
Brita Berglund, now of TV A, for highly efficient stenographic and 
secretarial assistance; and, not least, to my wife for useful comments 


on organization and style. I am likewise grateful to the editors of 
The American Political Science Review and of The New Republic 
for permission to reproduce here certain materials originally pub- 
lished in article form in their respective journals. None of these 
organizations or persons is responsible for errors of fact, for mistakes 
of interpretation, or for any of my opinions and conclusions. 

All translations, including poems, are my own, save where English 
sources are cited. I have endeavoured to recapture the atmosphere of 
Nazi politics by means of a style of presentation not calculated to 
reduce a gigantic melodrama to a dry-as-dust academic compilation. 
I have sought to retain a sufficient amount of documentation to en- 
able readers to consult the major primary and secondary sources of 
information if, they are so minded. My objectives have been explana- 
tion, not condemnation; analysis, not indictment; description, not 
denunciation. Whether the pages which follow are to be regarded as 
"objective" or "impartial" is a question almost devoid of meaning in 
the present context. If objectivity means the analysis of social phe- 
nomena within a frame of reference broader than the phenomena 
themselves, then this study is objective. But the new dictators who 
"think with their blood" repudiate all objectivity and scientific de- 
tachment as evil products of liberalism and of "Jewish-Marxist ma- 
terialism." Under these circumstances any effort at objectivity implies 
per se the adoption of an attitude evoking negative emotional re- 
sponses from the patients under observation. Like every form of 
highly emotionalized and subjectivized mass mysticism, National- 
socialism demands acceptance or rejection. Objectivity is equivalent 
to rejection. But if this book contributes to a better understanding of 
the nature of Fascism it will have served its purpose. 

The University of Chicago 
February u, 1935 




1. Defeat 3 

2. The Birth of a Party 10 

3. Beer-mugs and Bullets 19 

4. Putsch 32 

5. Lessons of Landsberg am Lech 39 



1. Resurrection 49 

2. Der Fuhrer and his Aides 58 

3. The Machine 65 

4. Propaganda 78 

5. The Purse-strings 85 


1. Neuroses of the Kleinbilrgerttim 95 

2. "The Socialism of Fools": Jttda Verrccl{c! 109 

3. The Racial Myth : Blut und Eodcn 113 

4. The Social and Economic Program : 

Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz 1 15 

5. The Political Doctrine: Das Ftihrerprinzip 120 

6. Martial Magic: Deutschland Erwache! 124 


i. A House Divided 131 


2. Briining and the Brown Battalions 142 

3. The Betrayal of Weimar 153 


1. Herren Klub, Hindenburg, and Hitler 167 

2. Deadlock 177 

3. Der Fiihrer, Reichskanzler 187 

4. The Sign from Heaven 201 

5. The Last Election 212 


1. Smashing the Proletariat 223 

2. Liquidating the Party System 236 

3. Totalitarianism 244 

4. The Dictators 267 



1. Political Sadism 287 

2. The Tools of Terror 298 

3. Consent through Fear 302 


1. Perish the Jew! 312 

2. Anti-Semitism in Action 319 

3. Liberals and Marxists 327 


1. "Luftschutz Tut Not!" 340 

2. Imperialist Fantasies 346 

3. Toward War 352 


1. Symbols and Circuses 360 

2. The Schooling of Youth 370 

3. NaziKultur 374 


1 . The Profits of Power 387 

2. Capital 391 

3. Labour 397 

4. Peasants and Junkers 410 



1. Criticism 423 

2. Massacre 439 

3. Apologia 444 

4. Omnipotence 461 

5. The Third Year and Beyond 472 

6. The Way of Fascism 493 





INDEX follows page 516 





ON NOVEMBER 11, 1918, a pale young man lay weeping on a sick-bed 
in the Lazarett at Pasewalk, a small Prussian town o'n the Ucker, 
northeast of Berlin. He was indistinguishable from hundreds of other 
war casualties lying on identical beds, save that he was of Austrian 
birth and had won an Iron Cross and the rank of corporal. Four years 
before, he had volunteered for service in Munich and had become a 
private in the Sixteenth Bavarian Infantry Regiment. The enthusiasm 
of those remote August days he always recalled with excitement and 
nostalgia. He had been twenty-five then: an intense, dissatisfied, 
neurotic youth, frustrated in all his ambitions without parents, 
without wife or mistress, without friends, without hope, save the 
frustrated hopes of war-dreams and hero-fantasies nurtured from 
childhood and never outgrown. 

Sarajevo, the spark of death for ten million men, had come to him 
as to most of the others as the spark of life and the herald of high 
adventure. Fantasy promised to become reality. Upon the news of the 
outbreak of war he had felt a great weight lifted from his chest. Here 
was release from the storm and stress of an unhappy young manhood. 
He had fallen on his knees, overcome with rejoicing and vivid antici- 
pations, and out of the fullness of his heart had thanked Heaven for 
vouchsafing him the privilege of living in an age which was about to 
show, after years of humdrum dullness, that it, too, could be "heroic." 1 

"What man wills, that he hopes and believes." So wrote the pale 
young man ten years later about the inspiring fever of 1914 patriotism. 
"Deutschland, Deutschland ubcr allcs!" rang always in his ears as he 

iCf. Adolf Hitler: Mein Kampf (Munich: Verlag Franz Ehcr Nachfolger; 17 cd., 

1933). PP- 177 f- 



moved toward the front, fearful, he said later, lest the victory be won 
and the war be over before he saw battle. If other fears possessed him, 
they were conveniently forgotten later. This fear at least proved 
groundless, for he soon saw destruction and blood in Flanders. Like 
millions of others, he rejoiced and recoiled simultaneously, exalted by 
merging himself into a vast armed host engaged in grim and heroic 
deeds, but shocked no doubt by the hideous sights of death. He soon 
learned to enjoy death. Killing and escaping being killed were noble. 
Civilized men in arms, unlike barbarians and savages, cannot enjoy 
bestiality for its own sake. They must justify murder and arson and 
disguise their guilty joy in the slogans and symbols of patriotic sac- 
rifice. The greater their joy and the greater their guilt at their joy, the 
more ardent their patriotism. 

The pale young man was an ardently patriotic soldier who fought 
wisely and well. Months and years of slaughter on the western front 
became his life. He relished danger and became a dispatch-bearer. 
On October 7, 1916, during the British offensive on the Somme, he 
was wounded. He convalesced at Beelitz and later in Berlin. There 
he found time to denounce cowards and defeatists and, above all, the 
Jews and Marxists, who were to him the pests and parasites of the 
Fatherland. By March of 1917 he was again at the front. Glorious 
hopes of victory waxed strong as the year wore on. Then in the sum- 
mer of 1918 they waned with the failure of the great drives and the 
inexorable pressure of French, British, American, and Belgian armies 
pushing the grey flood back toward the frontier. But the pale young 
man was undaunted till the end. In the autumn of the dark year he 
found himself again, for the third time since 1914, at Comines, in 
Flanders. On October 13 the British at Ypres launched a mustard-gas 
attack against his regiment. He fell choking, burned, and almost 
blinded and eventually found himself in the Lazarett at Pasewalk 
with doctors and nurses uncertain as to whether he would recover 
his sight. At last he saw again, but his eyes opened on a world in 

One day rebellious sailors, perhaps from Stettin, came by the hos- 
pital, driving armoured cars and shouting: "Revolution!" They were 
led so an embittered memory told him later by a few Jews. Detest- 
able swine! They had never been at the front. And now they waved 
red flags and cried: "Revolution!" Only a naval mutiny, the young 
man on the sick-bed reassured himself. That the Germans as a whole, 


his Germans, could yield to despair was inconceivable. But gradually 
he learned the appalling truth. On November 10 the hospital pastor 
announced the abdication of the Hohenzollerns to the sobbing and 
cursing veterans. 

When, on the next day, the final news of the armistice came and 
he realized its import, he stumbled to his bed and wept for the first 
time, he wrote later, since the death of his mother. All that he had 
worshipped, all that he had made the most cherished part of himself, 
was destroyed. Grief and misery at this catastrophe were soon trans- 
muted into hate, as horror at the front had been transmuted into 
heroism. All that night his hate raged within him hate against the 
authors of defeat. In his simple philosophy, all blacks and whites with 
no nuances of grey, the authors stood clearly revealed: Marxists, 
pacifists, democrats; above all, the pestiferous Jews. He laughed now 
at his dreams of becoming once more an architect. A great passion 
swept through him. He must destroy the authors of defeat as they had 
destroyed all that had meaning in his life. He must regenerate his 
countrymen, lead them back to the light, restore their will to what 
is warlike and heroic. He must, in short, enter politics and thereby 
fulfil his "mission." 

Sixteen years later, on April 20, 1934, his forty-fifth birthday, the 
Bavarian barracks where he first served would be named after him. 
In Bavaria all mothers of sixty-five would be officially feasted in 
honour of the mother who gave Adolf Hitler to Germany. Her son, 
in the chancellery of the Reich, would receive hundreds of enormous 
birthday cakes from all parts of the nation. And he would receive 
thanks and congratulations, with comradely greetings, from his erst- 
while commander, Paul von Beneckendorf und von Hindenburg. 

In the dreary autumn of 1918 the pale young man returned to his 
regimental headquarters in Munich. His "mission" burned within 
him, but his immediate future was dark. To return to dull civilian 
life was unthinkable. No position awaited him. No family hearth 
would welcome him in his despair. No relatives or friends cared 
whether he lived or died, for he had always been lonely and apart. 
No Frau or Fraulein awaited his homecoming. He had no home. 
He had never experienced love, nor was he ever to know the exalta- 
tion and peace which it brought to other men. He returned to his 
barracks. And in the general demobilization he managed to remain 
with his regiment. But even this was dull and dispiriting in the black 


winter which followed the armistice. He lived listlessly, seeking but 
not finding the opportunity for which he sought. Heroism was of the 
past once more and perhaps of some dim, remote future. The present 
was drab and full of the antics of the cursed Jews, Marxists, labour 
leaders, liberals, a swinish lot whom he despised and detested with 
all his soul. They represented something broader than his little world 
of petty-bourgeois provincialism and something therefore alien and 
menacing. He withdrew into his memories and his anticipations. 

His childhood and youth had been in no way remarkable. Indeed, 
they epitomized most perfectly the aspirations and frustrations of 
millions of little men throughout central Europe. He was born April 
20, 1889, in the small border town of Braunau-am-Inn, near the 
Bavarian frontier. He was the only son by a third marriage of a petty 
Austrian customs official. The town later came to be for him a symbol 
of a mission: that of effacing the frontier, of uniting all Germans in 
a great German Reich. His early years were uneventful. His family 
was poor, though his father put on the airs appropriate to a Beamier 
and was apparently disliked by his neighbours, for Austrians did not 
worship authority and uniforms, as did Prussians. Frau Hitler (nee 
Klara Ploetzl) was of uncertain ancestry, possibly Czechish. Herr 
Hitler had been christened Alois. His surname, a contraction of 
Hiittler, suggested the origins of the family in the small peasantry. 

Adolf's relations with his parents were unhappy, even in his early 
childhood. He resented his father's authoritarian attitude, and his 
resentment was soon transferred to that which his father's uniform 
symbolized the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Neither the school 
nor the Catholic church which he attended broke down this trans- 
ferred father-hatred. He Jiated his "Fatherland" with a childish hate 
and soon found reasons for his feelings. He pored over the cheap books 
in his father's small library, especially over a popular account of the 
Franco-Prussian War. He wondered why all Germans had not fought 
France. He was a German too, and like all boys he thrilled with 
vicarious joy at accounts of wars and of deeds soldierly and warlike. 
His motherland, he felt, was the Germany across the river, over there 
at Simbach and beyond. Only it wasn't the land of his mother. She 
spoke German with a Czechish accent. This was humiliating. As a 
German among the other Germans of the dual monarchy, he looked 
down upon the lesser alien peoples: Italians, South Slavs, Magyars, 
Poles, Czechs. But when his family went for a time to Passau, along 


the river on the German side, they were looked down upon as 
Austrians. And later, when the family went to Lambach, the Aus- 
trians treated them almost as foreigners. These subtle distinctions 
between in-group and out-group, and his own anomalous position in 
which he seemed to "belong" nowhere, deeply affected the boy. He 
disliked his father and was alienated from his mother. Like a small, 
rudderless boat without anchor or sail, he drifted through his too 
complex little world, bound for no certain destination save some 
mystic land of dreams. 

After the turn of the century, when he attained to the dignity of 
twelve years, he decided that he would become an artist. He liked 
colour and form and romantic fantasy. The second opera which he 
witnessed, Lohengrin (Wilhelm Tell was the first), impressed him 
deeply and made him a devotee of Wagner. His father was horrified 
at his decision. "A painter no, so long as I live, never!" He must 
become a respectable Beamier like his father. Painter, indeed! His 
son to become a Bohemian, a metropolitan good-for-nothing! But 
Adolf was stubborn and his quarrel with his father became chronic. 
The boy's mother brought him little comfort, and he looked elsewhere 
for inspiration. He found it to some degree in the Realschule at Linz, 
where his history-teacher, Dr. Leopold Poetsch, made him a good 
German, aware at a tender age of the distinction between unworthy 
dynastic patriotism toward the Habsburgs and pan-German racial 

When he was thirteen his father died. His mother felt bound to 
carry out her husband's wishes and to make young Adolf a Beamter. 
But in the face of her insistence he fell ill, and, to his relief, the doctor 
diagnosed his malady as a lung trouble which would make office 
work highly inadvisable. His mother then agreed reluctantly to send 
him to the art academy in Vienna. But her intention was never carried 
out. After a lingering, painful illness, she followed her husband to 
the grave. Adolf was an orphan at fifteen. Relatives took him tempo- 
rarily under their protection. They were poor and doubtless be- 
grudged him his keep. None of them made any permanent impression 
on the unhappy boy. 1 

When he was seventeen he went to Vienna. He was poor and 
friendless but resolved to study painting. Full of confidence, he took 

1 Mein Kampf, pp. 1-17; Theodor Heuss: Hitlers Wcg (Stuttgart: Union; 1932), pp. 
15-18; Emil Lengyel: Hitler (London: Routledgc; 1932), pp. 1-15. 


the entrance examinations in the academy, only to fail and to be 
advised that his talents seemed to lie in architecture rather than paint- 
ing. But entrance into the architectural school of the academy required 
preparatory work in the Bauschule der Technik and this in turn 
required the completion of a course in a Mittelschitle. Adolf had never 
completed his secondary education, nor was he able to do so on his 
slender resources. Somehow he must earn a living. He did odd jobs. 
He borrowed a few schillings from his sister Paula. He painted picture 
postcards. All he could find in the way of a permanent post was a 
menial job as a building-trades helper. He carried bricks and mortar 
and mingled resentfully with common working men, his social in- 
feriors. He lived in tenements and felt at home nowhere. Poverty, 
insecurity, and frustration did not lead him toward acquiescence in 
his lot. He rebelled and viewed the scene about him always through 
the small eyes of a half-peasant, half-bourgeois provincial who had 
known better days and who knew he was worthy of better things. 
Girls paid no heed to this surly, morose youth, and he ignored them. 
He hungered for beauty, but found none in this narrow, cramped life 
of the builders' scaffolding and the workers' quarters. His inner con- 
flicts found expression in the development of the curiously warped 
social philosophy of an outcast. "In this period," he wrote long after- 
wards, "there was formed in me an outlook and a world philosophy 
which became for me the granite foundations of my behaviour at that 
time. I had to learn only a little in addition to that which I thus 
created in myself, to change it I had no need." * 

This Weltanschauung (blessed word!) was, as he himself dimly 
recognized, the reflection of the resentments and fears of a petty- 
bourgeois youth at the prospect of being pushed down permanently 
into the ranks of the proletariat by the vast impersonal forces of a 
society of which he had little comprehension and no control. His 
fellow workers irritated him insufferably. They were Social Demo- 
crats. He sympathized with their hatred of the monarchy, but only 
because he desired the break-up of a State which was "Slavizing" its 
Germans. He hated Slavs and yet he probably had no realization 
that he was here giving expression to his contempt for his mother and 
for something deep in himself. The workers urged him to join the 
union. He refused. They threatened him with violence. He hated 
them and perceived suddenly that Marxism and trade unionism con- 

1 Mein Kampi, p. 21. 


stituted "a fearful instrument of terror against the security and inde- 
pendence of the national economy, the safety of the State, and the 
freedom of the individual." l 

He studied this enemy of his "freedom 1 ' and finally found the "key" 
to all social problems. It was supplied by Karl Lueger, Mayor of the 
city, and by the bourgeois and aristocratic anti-Semitic groups which 
were so prominent a feature of pre-war Vienna life. "Only the knowl- 
edge of Jewry offers the key to the understanding of the inner and 
actual purpose of Social Democracy." 2 Before Vienna he had seen 
few Jews. They had been rare in Linz and these had been so "Euro- 
peanized" and "human" that he had mistaken them for Germans. In 
Vienna he had at first resented the anti-Semitism of a section of the 
press and of Dr. Karl Lueger's Christian-Social Party. But finally he 
saw the light. Once he met a Jew with long hair and a caftan and 
wondered at these sinister figures come out of the East. He began 
buying anti-Semitic pamphlets and learned that the Jews were a 
pestilential race, worse than the Black Death, poisoning all they 
touched. The completeness of the revelation was startling. Here was 
the road to self-righteous hatred of that world of cosmopolitan culture, 
of sophistication, of release from provincial inhibitions which he had 
tried in vain to enter. This was, after all, a world of literary filth, of 
artistic dross, of theatrical dirt all produced by Jews! And his "Welt- 
presse" was run by Jews and was full of a thousand lies. Prostitution, 
the white-slave traffic, a hundred evils were devised by the Jews to 
debauch the people on whom they preyed. And the Social Democratic 
Party and its press were dominated by Jews. Lies, lies! "Gradually I 
began to hate them. ... I was transformed from a weakly world- 
citizen [!] to a fanatic anti-Semite." 3 

This ferment continued to grow within the man during his five 
years in Vienna. By 1909 he was working independently, doing draw- 
ings and water-colours. He was even poorer than before, but at least 
his time was his own and he was free from distasteful contacts with 
grimy workers. Karl Lueger remained his guide to Jewish wicked- 
ness. His pan-Germanism found inspiration in Georg von Schonerer, 
leader of the Austrian pan-Germans. Later, in retrospect, he perceived 
that Schonerer was mistaken in building merely a parliamentary 

1 Ibid., p. 53. 

2 ibid., p. 54. 

3 Ibid., pp. 67, 69. 


party and in failing to win the masses to his cause by linking pan- 
Germanism and anti-Semitism with "social problems." Schonerer 
talked and negotiated, but failed to fight. He failed to develop a 
Weltanschauung championed by fighters and heroes. Here was needed 
force and fanaticism and Wagnerian mythology. Schonerer's end was 
good, but his means were inadequate. Lueger's means were excellent, 
but he had no clear goal He was, after all, only a sham anti-Semite. 
He fought the Jews only on religious grounds and failed to perceive 
the racial implications of his cause. 

In 1912 Hitler went to Munich. Why he went is unclear. In Febru- 
ary 1914 he returned to Linz to do his military service, only to be 
rejected as "too weak" and "waffenunfahig." About his two years in 
the Bavarian capital he says little in his autobiography, save that they 
were the happiest and most contented years of his life. His existence 
remained precarious, however. He worked at odd jobs as a carpenter 
and handy-man. He made drawings for newspapers. He painted a 
bit unsuccessfully. He toyed with architecture, also unsuccessfully. 
His frustrations remained always with fiim. His fantasies remained 
unrealized and seemingly unrealizable. And then with dramatic 
suddenness war! He was accepted as a volunteer in the Bavarian 
army. Adventure! And the fierce, joyful years of slaughter, mud, and 
slime. And the trappings of a '^heroism" in which his faith never 
wavered, even in the darkest hours of the final tragedy. Here was sal- 
vation and release from drabness. Here was glory and exaltation and 
victory and then the bitter sting once more of defeat. 


THE soldier who returned to Munich in the winter of the year of 
disaster had learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Half-educated, 
he knew only such history and politics and economics as he perceived 
darkly through the glasses of pan-German romanticism and military 
hero-worship. His thwarted affection for a mother long dead had 
been transferred to a love for a motherland which was not his own. 
The symbols of its might, now tragically shattered, were the things 
dearest to him. These he loved more than he loved any human being, 
for, like all ardent patriots, he had identified himself with them and in 
worshipping them he worshipped himself. These were the devices 
which made him one with the vast, fearful, beloved, impersonal maj- 


esty of Deutschtum. And the gods of Deutschtum within him were 
jealous gods, brooking no rivals. 

Only this mystic loyalty brought warmth to a heart otherwise closed 
by the heavy defences it had set up to conceal its own insecurities. The 
rich he hated because of his poverty. The poor he hated because of his 
frustrated ambitions. Jews he hated because they represented what he 
would have become and could not. Frenchmen he hated, not because 
he had fought them for four years, but because France too, and the 
faint breath of Paris which he had caught in pre-war Vienna, bespoke 
a polish, a sophistication, a cultural freedom, and a libertarian Bohe- 
mianism which was to him evil because he narrow, uncouth, and 
provincial was incapable of sharing it and finding it good. Slavs he 
hated because his mother's blood spoiled his own German purity. 
Since his life was empty, he romanticized it. Since war was a release 
from emptiness, he welcomed it. And since war was hideous, he 
romanticized it too with a glorified Heldentum idealism as fanatic 
and tenacious as war itself was inglorious and foul. 1 

The defeat of German arms in the greatest of all wars was the 
ultimate frustration. It, too, was caused by the enemies of society upon 
whom he had long since fastened the hatreds generated by his earlier 
frustrations: Jews, Marxists, trade unionists, liberals, pacifists, inter- 
nationalists. These were the foes of the new mother for whom he had 
fought and bled. These were the vipers from whom this mother must 
be rescued. In the rescuing he could vent his thwarted aggressions on 
these scapegoats and achieve self-realization and a release from his 
unbearable emotional tensions. This was now his mission. In its ac- 
complishment his latent artistic and oratorical abilities were to come 
to the surface. In their exercise he was to know greater joy and self- 
satisfaction than he had ever known before. And he was to find what 
was sweetest to one obsessed with mother-rescue fantasies and with 
unconscious fears of impotence and castration: power. 

This power came to him because he was able to capitalize upon his 
own value as a symbol of the mass frustrations and insecurities of the 
Kleinburgertum from which he sprang. In finding an emotionally 
satisfying solution for his own problems, he was to afford a comparable 
solution for the problems of multitudes who suffered as he had suf- 

1 For interesting suggestions regarding Hitler's personality structure, see Fedor Vergin: 
Das unbewusste Europa (Vienna, Leipzig: Hess; 19.31), 137-55; and H. D. LassweM: 
"The Psychology of Hitlerism," Political Quarterly, Vol. IV, pp. 373-84. 


fered. Because his own personality difficulties had counterparts by 
millions in the society in which he lived, he was to found a new 
political religion giving solace to its disciples. Because of his special 
talents as an actor, an orator, and a symbol-artist, he was to become the 
Messiah of this religion: Der Fiihrer. Therewith began a cycle: from 
neuroses to fanaticism, from fanaticism to a following of fanatics, 
from a following to a party, from the party to a great mass movement, 
from the mass movement to revolution and to power beyond the 
dreams of despots. 

The Munich to which Hitler returned seemed at first to offer few 
opportunities for the type of political activity upon which he desired 
to embark. The revolution had come here two days before it struck 
Berlin. On November 7, 1918, the two wings of Social Democracy, the 
Majority Socialists and the Independent Socialists, joined forces in a 
great labor demonstration for peace and for a republic. Kurt Eisner, 
the Independent Socialist leader (a Jewish lawyer of Berlin birth), 
addressed his followers with brave inflammatory words. The local 
garrison was won over to the proletarian cause. A Workers' and 
Soldiers' Council was created on the 8th, while the Wittelsbach dy- 
nasty came to an end with the flight of the King. Eisner became 
Minister-President of the new Bavarian "People's State." Labour had 
pushed over the old political order. Its leaders, who had preached 
social revolution for decades, directed the mass movement into safe 
channels. Monarchy gave way to republic, but the distribution of 
property and power remained as before. Proletarian radicals, inspired 
by the example of the workers of Russia, sought to engineer a genu- 
ine social revolution, but the conservative bureaucrats of the trade 
unions and of the Social Democratic Party held back. 

But under the pressure of reaction the Independent Socialists and 
even the Majority Socialists of Munich drifted rapidly leftward, partic- 
ularly after Eisner's assassination, on February 21, 1919. On March 21 
a Communist coup d'etat created a Soviet regime in Hungary. The 
Munich Workers'-Soldiers' Council effected a rapprochement with 
the Peasants' Union and began to play an important role. Early in 
April an agreement was reached between Majority Socialists, Inde- 
pendent Socialists, and Communists. On the 7th a Soviet Republic 
(Rdterepublil^ or Council Republic) was proclaimed, resting, as in 
Russia and Hungary, upon the Councils of Workers, Soldiers, and 


The Soviet of Munich, like that of Budapest, was destined to be 
drowned in blood. The Spartacist movement in northern Germany 
had already been crushed. Berlin dispatched troops southward to 
"restore order." Before they arrived, General von Oven, with a pa- 
triotic volunteer corps, opened hostilities against the radical forces. 
The "Red army" of the Soviet was hastily organized. It was poorly 
equipped and no match for the troops sent against it. The patriot 
volunteers and the Reichswehr took few prisoners in their advance 
upon the city, resorting instead to the summary executions character- 
istic of violent class warfare. In reprisal the Soviet authorities executed 
ten hostages. On May i, 1919, the Reichswehr marched into Munich. 
The local volunteers had already driven the Reds from the centres of 
power. In the course of the fighting, 38 government soldiers were 
killed and 547 Miincheners lost their lives, including 184 civilians 
"accidentally shot." A conservative government took power in Mu- 
nich, and the city became a haven for disgruntled militarists, mon- 
archists, soldier adventurers, and reactionary conspirators of all kinds. 

This new atmosphere was most pleasing to the young Hitler and 
ultimately furnished him with opportunities for carrying out his 
resolution of the preceding autumn. At the end of November 1918, 
upon his return to the city, he discovered to his disgust that his regi- 
mental headquarters were in the hands of a Soldiers' Council. Rather 
than participate in the activities of such "Marxist traitors," he left 
with a comrade for the camp at Traunstein, where he stayed until 
the camp was dissolved. In March 1919 he returned to Munich. The 
Soviet regime, in his eyes, was simple "Jew-rule." He apparently 
played no part in the bloody events which followed, though on the 
morning of April 27 he narrowly escaped arrest as a suspect by the 
Soviet authorities. A few days after the "liberation" of Munich, he 
was appointed a member of an Untersuchungs^ommission of the 
Second Infantry Regiment to investigate the events of the revolution. 
A few weeks later he was entrusted with the task of giving a course 
in political education to his comrades, and so successful was he in 
instilling patriotism and hatred for the "November criminals" that 
he held the post for a considerable period. 1 He turned over various 
plans in his mind, but found no immediate field for action, despite 
the local proliferation of reactionary groups and of armed bands of 
political adventurers. In the Munich of 1920 he was but one of many 
1 Mein Kampf, pp. 226-7. 


would-be condottieri leaders surrounded by reactionary conspirators, 
terrorists, and ambitious soldiers of all types, united only in their 
hatred of the Socialists and of the new republican order. 1 

Hitler, however, desired to organize a popular mass movement 
rather than to take part in military conspiracies. He conferred with 
some of his like-minded soldier colleagues. They must first of all find 
a name which would have popular appeal perhaps "Social Revolu- 
tionary Party". . . ? But a name was only a beginning. Hitler at- 
tended political meetings. He was impressed with the flatness and 
dullness of the bourgeois party gatherings and with the superior 
propaganda technique of his enemies, the Marxists. Sound, colour, 
banners, slogans, parades these were needed to appeal to the emo- 
tions of tha masses. But what to do? By chance he happened, one 
June evening in 1919, to attend a small meeting in the Sterneckerbrau 
beer hall. It was sponsored by a group calling itself the Deutsche 
Arbeiterpartei (German Labour Party). Everyone was founding a 
new party. The speaker he had heard before: one Gottfried Feder, 
who had discovered the "key" to Germany's economic difficulties in 
the distinction between two kinds of capital international, Jewish, 
exploitive loan-capital and national, purely German, productive capi- 
tal. Hitler was much impressed with Feder's exposition, but was 
unmoved by the little audience of two dozen people. In the ensuing 
discussion a "professor" advocated the separation of Bavaria from 
Prussia and its union with Austria. Hitler rose indignantly to de- 
nounce him, with such effect, he wrote later, that the professor crawled 
out of the hall "like a wet poodle." As Hitler departed, an unknown 
man thrust into his hand a pamphlet which he took with him to his 
living-quarters: the barracks of the Second Infantry Regiment. The 
following morning, when he awakened at five his usual hour for 
rising he read it. It was entitled My Political Awakening. It de- 
scribed how the author had finally arrived at "national ideas" after 
passing through Marxist and trade-unionist confusion. Here Hitler 
saw an interesting recapitulation of the development of his own 
political emotions, 

Less than a week later Hitler received a postcard informing him 
that he had been "admitted" to the "party" and inviting him to come 
to the next meeting, on Wednesday evening in the Alte Rosenbad 

1 Ernst Ottwalt: Deutschland Erwachel (Gcschichte dcs National soztalismus) (Vienna, 
Leipzig: Hess; 1932)* PP- 133-143- 


beer hall on Herrnstrasse. Uncertain as to whether to be angry or 
amused (he had wanted to found his own party), he went. He found 
four men sitting around a broken table under a gas lamp. One, Karl 
Harrer, was head of the "Reichsorganisation" of the German Labour 
Party, which had been established on January 5, 1919, by a somewhat 
muddle-headed young locksmith, Anton Drexler, who sought to 
achieve a synthesis of patriotism, trade unionism, socialism, and 
militarism. 1 Drexler read the notes of the last meeting, reported that 
the cash on hand totaled seven Reichsmarks, fifty pfennigs, and 
presented letters of sympathy from "supporters" in Berlin, Kiel, and 
Diisseldorf. The effect was ludicrous. Here was merely a name, a 
vague yearning, and four merfunder a lamp. Hitler's reason told him 
that the group was nothing and that it would be nonseijsical for him 
to join it. But his intuition told him to join. And here, as often, he 
found emotion a better guide than reason. He joined. 

"It was the most fateful decision of my life." 2 

He received a membership card. He was member No. 7 of the 
inner group. Every Wednesday the six or seven men met in the beer 
hall. Once a week they arranged a Sprechabcnd in some larger place. 
Almost no one came. Only a handful of people knew of the existence 
of this pitiable "party." It had no press, no funds, no organization, 
no leaders, almost no members. If only people would at least attack it 
or denounce it or in some way put it before the public eye. Hitler 
proposed a monthly mass meeting. He wrote out and typed invita- 
tions himself. Once he personally distributed eighty cards announcing 
a meeting. That evening only the same seven appeared. But next 
time eleven came. Then thirteen. Then seventeen, twenty-three, thirty- 
four. Still insignificant and apparently hopeless, But the little group 
persisted. Incredibly, it was to become a party, a great mass move- 
ment, and a Weltanschauung, destined to sweep all before it. But in 
the fall of 1919 it was nothing the merest speck on a stormy horizon. 

Funds were collected at these early meetings and an important and 
profitable precedent was thereby established. The funds at first were 
pathetically small, but, used wisely, they began to multiply. In a 
moment of happy inspiration Hitler published a notice of the next 
meeting in the Miinchener Beobachter, then an independent sheet 

Konrad Heiden: A History of National Socialism (New York: Knopf; 1935), 
pp. 3-8. 
2 Hein Kampf, p. 244. 


with superpatriotic and anti-Semitic leanings. The result was astonish- 
ing. One hundred and eleven persons came to the appointed place: 
one of the smaller rooms of the great Hofbriiuhaus, largest of beer 
halls. A local professor opened the meeting. Hitler spoke second. It 
was his first public speech. Herr Harrer had given him only twenty 
minutes. He spoke thirty and discovered that he was an orator of 
talent. "Ich fonnte reden!" He dwelt on the sufferings of Germany, 
the injustices of the peace, the viciousness of the Allies, the wickedness 
of the Jews, the treachery of the Marxists. He was hypnotized and 
exalted by the emotional response of the audience, and the audience 
reciprocally felt joy and exaltation at the flowing phrases which 
afforded vicarious release for its own patriotic prejudices and resent- 
ments. Threg hundred marks were contributed. The party had a 
treasury! Leaflets could now be printed. 

Many of Hitler's war comrades joined the movement, and it became 
a movement of soldiers patriotic, reactionary, disgruntled, unable to 
accept defeat and demobilization, unwilling to return to the inhibited 
humdrum of civilian life after years of emotional orgies and "heroism" 
in the army. Harrer and Drexler were not soldiers. The former was 
a petty journalist, too academic to become an effective swayer of 
crowds. The latter, leader of the Miinchen Ortsgmppe, lacked the 
requisite fire and fanaticism. Both were pushed more and more into 
the background as Hitler threw himself energetically into the tasks of 
speaking, organizing, and publicizing and assumed control of propa- 
ganda activities. 

In October 1919 the second mass meeting was held in the Eberl- 
braukeller. Hitler, one of four speakers, harangued the crowd of 130 
for an hour on the theme of "Brest-Litovsk and Versailles." The 
Marxists were arguing that the injustices of the conquerors' peace 
imposed on the Reich were perhaps, after all, no worse than the 
conqueror's peace which Germany had imposed on defeated Russia 
in March 1918. Such comparisons were disgusting. Hitler courageously 
took up the challenge. The audience went wild, for it heard what it 
wanted to believe. A few hecklers were suppressed by the guards and 
fled downstairs with broken heads. Two weeks later another meeting 
in the same place drew 170 people. Each time Hitler spoke, the audi- 
ences were larger, the contributions more generous, the new party 
members more numerous. He sought a larger hall and found one at 
the other end of the city, in the Deutschen Reich, on Dachauerstrasse. 


But only 140 people came. The doubters were discouraged and 
advised fewer meetings. Hitler insisted and drew 200 to the next 
assembly with an excellent collection. A fortnight later 270 came. 
Two weeks after this success, at the seventh mass meeting, over 400 
crowded into the hall. Success begot greater success, and Hitler began 
to believe in his "mission." 

He and his more fanatic war comrades gradually assumed a domi- 
nant role in the movement and crowded out the more timid and 
academic souls. Quarrels over names and tactics were frequent. Two 
adjectives were added to the party's title in April 1920, apparently at 
Hitler's suggestion: "National" and "Socialist." That Hitler was then 
familiar with Friedrich Naumann's pre-war Nationalsoziale Verein 
is unlikely, though he doubtless knew of the German National 
Socialist Party of Austria, with which his new party established 
contact in the summer. He probably adopted the name as one ad- 
mirably designed to appeal to the deep-seated affection of the local 
populace for any cause calling itself "Socialist" and "National" simul- 
taneously. The combination of a patriotic "socialism" purged of 
internationalism, pacifism, and Marxism, with a socially-minded 
"nationalism" was a masterpiece of political invention. Hitler had an 
intuitive feeling for mass reactions, for effective propaganda technique, 
for the art of identifying himself and his cause with clever combina- 
tions of symbols evoking favourable emotional responses in the 
community. And he was no less gifted in singling out as "enemies" 
of the movement those elements whose symbols had been discredited 
by the defeat, the revolution, and the Soviet dictatorship. Pacifists, 
Marxists, Jews, the "November criminals" were subjected to relentless 
and vicious attack verbal at first, to evoke mass enthusiasm, physical 
later to intimidate the enemy and to afford psychically satisfying 
channels for the discharge of the animosities generated among the 
faithful. Husky soldiers were designated as guards at the meetings, 
and the speed and brutality with which they assaulted arid ejected 
hecklers were most heartening. Those who deprecated violence and 
urged persuasion and spiritual weapons were soon a dwindling minor- 
ity in the Nationdsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National 
Socialist German Workers' Party or NSDAP in the German abbre- 

But Hitler, as an uneducated man, almost wholly illiterate in the 
fields of economics and politics, relied for guidance in phrase-making 


and program-formulation on others who appeared to him to be pro- 
found thinkers. One of his mentors was the somewhat mysterious 
figure of Dietrich Eckart, a former actor, would-be poet and dramatist 
who had seen better days. He had translated Ibsen's Peer Gynt into 
German and had written a play himself: Lorenzaccio. He was often 
seen in the beer halls and coffee shops of Munich, and when slightly 
inebriated, as he frequently was, he would exude a scintillating stream 
of witticisms, trivialities, and aphorisms which brought to his knees 
an adoring circle of listeners and disciples. How, when, and where 
Hitler first encountered him is uncertain. But the youth was fasci- 
nated by the old man's glib tongue and dramatic gestures. He perhaps 
learned from him some of the arts of acting and oratory. Eckart's 
rabid anti-Seftiitism only confirmed Hitler's admiration. So intimate 
and apparently sacred was this relationship between the elderly poet 
and the young soldier that Hitler made no mention of it in the auto- 
biography which he wrote later to recount the events of these years. 
But the last sentence in the book was an expression of gratitude to 
Dietrich Eckart. Eckart's ultra-patriotic Gelrman mysticism was sym- 
bolized in a phrase which he used often: "Deutschland erwachel 
(Germany, awake!)." And this phrase Hitler adopted as the slogan 

Hitler's other guide at this period, Gottfried Feder, stands out in 
contrast as a sharp, clear, small figure in post-war Munich. Born in 
Wiirzburg January 27, 1883, he was, like Hitler, the son of a Beamier 
and was destined to become a Bearnter in turn. Unlike Hitler, he 
followed his father's wishes and became an engineer, subsequently 
engaging in construction projects in various parts of Germany, as 
well as in Italy, Bulgaria, and Russia. Lacking any formal economic 
training, he arrived by various processes of twisted reasoning, reflect- 
ing his petty-bourgeois resentment against "big business" and Hoch 
Finanz, at the conception of the two kinds of capital. The solution of 
all social problems was to be had through "breaking the bonds of 
interest slavery." Late in 1918 he published a Manifest zur Brechung 
der Zinstyechtschaft, and shortly afterwards he founded in Munich 
a Kampjbund zur Brechung der Zins^nechtscfiaft, into which he 
attracted Dietrich Eckart, Prince Lowenstein, Count Bothmer, Cap- 
tain Mayr, and a motley assortment of malcontents and visionaries. 
He began publishing pamphlets and making speeches setting forth 
his panacea. Hitler listened and, in his simplicity and in his quest for 


simple catchwords to win the masses, was profoundly impressed. 
Feder's "economics" opened Hitler's eyes to new vistas, and they were 
soQgi close collaborators. 1 


EARLY in 1920 Hitler urged upon his party colleagues the necessity of 
a great mass meeting at which a formal party program should be 
announced. There was dissent and fear lest the requisite audience 
should fail to materialize and lest the "Reds" should fill the hall and 
create disturbances. Hitler insisted. He was organizer of propaganda 
for the party. Drexler had replaced Harrer as party leader, though 
Hitler was already the real leader. Finally it was agreed: on the 
evening of February 24, 1920, all and sundry would be invited to the 
great Festsaal of the Hofbrauhaus. Hitler personally organized the 
preparations. Posters and leaflets were printed a few simple points 
ceaselessly reiterated in accordance with Hitler's conception of the 
public mind and on red paper, to emphasize the "socialist" character 
of the movement and to appeal to the proletariat. Guards were organ- 
ized to deal with disturbers. Announcements were spread over the 
city. The police-president, Ernst Pohner, and another police official, 
Wilhelm Frick, were sympathetic and even cordial. 2 Every mark and 
pfennig which could be gathered together were devoted to advertising 
the meeting. Its decisive character was clear to all the party members. 
If few came or if many enemies came to throw the assembly into 
chaos with shouts and fists and beer-mugs and table legs the move- 
ment would be set back by months. With desperate energy and many 
apprehensions Hitler and his colleagues prepared the meeting with 
meticulous care. 

Success again attended these efforts. On the appointed evening the 
Festsaal was filled to overflowing with almost two thousand people. 
About a quarter of them seemed to be indifferent or hostile. Others 
were curious, expectant, amused, or serious. At seven thirty Hitler 
entered, unrecognized and unknown, for only a handful had heard 
him before. He took his seat beside the speaker's platform. The meet- 
ing opened. Dr. Johannes Dingfelder delivered the principal address, 

1 Cf. Edgar Schmidt-Pauli: Die Manner urn Hitler (Berlin: Vcrlag fur Kulturpolitik; 

1932), pp. 134-41- 

2 Mein Kampf, pp. 403 f. 


which evoked no enthusiasm. Then: Hitler. He pleaded, cajoled, and 
exhorted, his voice rising to hoarse and passionate crescendos. Hate 
against Germany's enemies. Hate against the "November criminals." 
Hate against France and the Allies. Deutschland erwachcl Ger- 
many must be freed. . . . Hecklers interrupted with cries and laugh- 
ter. Canes clattered on tables and the heckling increased. But soon 
the guards intervened, ejecting a few, threatening the others, silencing 
the rest. The voice went on, more and more passionately. After the 
first half -hour bursts of applause began. They grew more enthusiastic 
under the hypnotic spell. Then the speaker began point by point to 
present and expound the new program. 1 

The document from which Hitler read had been prepared by Gott- 
fried Feder, \yho was entrusted with the task of writing an interpreta- 
tion, commentary, and defense. "Point One," shouted the voice: 
"We demand the union of all Germans to form a Great Germany on 
the basis of the right of self-determination enjoyed by nations. Who 
of you cannot support this point?" Applause and assent. "Point Two: 
We demand equality of rights for the German people in its dealings 
with other nations, and abrogation of the peace treaties of Versailles 
and Saint-Germain. Who of you cannot support this point?" Stormy 
applause and assent. "Point Three: We demand land and territory 
(colonies) for the nourishment of our people and for settling our 
superfluous population. Who of you ... ?" Wild approbation. This 
initial display before the mob of popular and familiar demands, cer- 
tain to evoke the responses of fervent patriotism, turned the trick. 
To stir hatred of the foreigner and to inflate vicariously the ego- 
symbols of patriotism was to appeal to the lowest common emotional 
denominator of the crowd. On the next level, and certain to evoke 
almost equal enthusiasm, was anti-Semitism. "Point Four: None but 
members of the nation may be citizens of the State. None but those 
of German blood, whatever their creed, may be members of the nation. 
No Jew, therefore, may be a member of the nation. Who ... ?" 
Boisterous applause. 

And so on through the twenty-five points of the program. Jews 
cannot be citizens. Only citizens may vote and hold office. Foreigners 
and non-citizens must be driven from the Reich if all cannot be 
nourished. All non-German immigrants must be expelled, including 
all non-Germans who entered the Reich since August 2, 1914. . . . 

1 For the text of the party program, see below, pp. 491-4. 


And then the "socialistic" motifs: Abolition of incomes unearned by 
work. Erea\ the bonds of interest slavery! All war profits must be 
confiscated. Trusts must be nationalized. The profits of wholesale 
trade must be shared. Old-age pensions. Municipalization of whole- 
sale-business premises and department stores, and their lease at low 
rentals to small traders. Confiscation without compensation of land 
for communal purposes. Abolition of interest on land mortgages and 
prohibition of all speculation in land. Usurers, profiteers, etc., must 
be punished with death. 

Then a melange of petty-bourgeois patriotism and morality : Roman 
law, serving the "materialistic world order," to be replaced by German 
law. The educational system to be reconstructed to give to every 
capable and industrious German the possibility of higher educatioii. 
Development of the gifted children of poor parents at State expense. 
Health. Protection of mothers and children. No child labour. Sports 
and bodily development. A national army, not a paid army. A national 
press: all editors of German papers must be Germans. Non-German 
(Jewish) papers to be published in their own language and only with 
the special permission of the State. Non-Germans to be barred from 
owning or influencing German papers. Suppression and deportation. 
Prosecution of all tendencies in art and literature likely to disintegrate 
the national life. Liberty of religion. Positive Christianity. The party 
combats the Jewish-materialist spirit. The common interest before 
self! (Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz!) A strong centralized State. Un- 
questioned authority of the politically centralized parliament, with 
chambers for classes and occupations. . . . 

"The leaders of the party swear to go straight forward if necessary 
to sacrifice their lives in securing fulfilment of the foregoing points." 
Stormy applause. It is almost midnight. The crowd is unfatigued. 
All are impressed. Some are converted. A few are wildly excited. 
Dozens rush up to shake the speaker's hand, to congratulate him, to 
express their renewed hope for the Fatherland. "Who wishes to join 
the new party?" "Where can we reach you?" Pens and paper are 
produced. Names, occupations, addresses are written down. Almost a 
hundred new members are enrolled. The treasury is full with the gate 
receipts. The evening has been an enormous success, even though 
everybody, including Hitler's colleagues in the German Workers' 
Party, promptly forgets about the "program." Hitler has emerged as 
an orator of genius and as indisputable leader and spokesman for the 


which evoked no enthusiasm. Then: Hitler. He pleaded, cajoled, and 
exhorted, his voice rising to hoarse and passionate crescendos. Hate 
against Germany's enemies. Hate against the "November criminals." 
Hate against France and the Allies. Deutschland erwachel Ger- 
many must be freed. . . . Hecklers interrupted with cries and laugh- 
ter. Canes clattered on tables and the heckling increased. But soon 
the guards intervened, ejecting a few, threatening the others, silencing 
the rest. The voice went on, more and more passionately. After the 
first half-hour bursts of applause began. They grew more enthusiastic 
under the hypnotic spell. Then the speaker began point by point to 
present and expound the new program. 1 

The document from which Hitler read had been prepared by Gott- 
fried Feder, who was entrusted with the task of writing an interpreta- 
tion, commentary, and defense. "Point One," shouted the voice: 
"We demand the union of all Germans to form a Great Germany on 
the basis of the right of self-determination enjoyed by nations. Who 
of you cannot support this point?" Applause and assent. "Point Two: 
We demand equality of rights for the German people in its dealings 
with other nations, and abrogation of the peace treaties of Versailles 
and Saint-Germain. Who of you cannot support this point?" Stormy 
applause and assent. "Point Three: We demand land and territory 
(colonies) for the nourishment of our people and for settling our 
superfluous population. Who of you ... ?" Wild approbation. This 
initial display before the mob of popular and familiar demands, cer- 
tain to evoke the responses of fervent patriotism, turned the trick. 
To stir hatred of the foreigner and to inflate vicariously the ego- 
symbols of patriotism was to appeal to the lowest common emotional 
denominator of the crowd. On the next level, and certain to evoke 
almost equal enthusiasm, was anti-Semitism. "Point Four: None but 
members of the nation may be citizens of the State. None but those 
of German blood, whatever their creed, may be members of the nation. 
No Jew, therefore, may be a member of the nation. Who ... ?" 
Boisterous applause. 

And so on through the twenty-five points of the program. Jews 
:annot be citizens. Only citizens may vote and hold office. Foreigners 
and non-citizens must be driven from the Reich if all cannot be 
nourished. All non-German immigrants must be expelled, including 
all non-Germans who entered the Reich since August 2, 1914. . , . 

1 For the text of the party program, see below, pp. 491-4. 


And then the "socialistic" motifs: Abolition of incomes unearned by 
work. Erea\ the bonds of interest slavery! All war profits must be 
confiscated. Trusts must be nationalized. The profits of wholesale 
trade must be shared. Old-age pensions. Municipalization of whole- 
sale-business premises and department stores, and their lease at low 
rentals to small traders. Confiscation without compensation of land 
for communal purposes. Abolition of interest on land mortgages and 
prohibition of all speculation in land. Usurers, profiteers, etc., must 
be punished with death. 

Then a melange of petty-bourgeois patriotism and morality : Roman 
law, serving the "materialistic world order," to be replaced by German 
law. The educational system to be reconstructed to give to every 
capable and industrious German the possibility of higher educatioii. 
Development of the gifted children of poor parents at State expense. 
Health. Protection of mothers and children. No child labour. Sports 
and bodily development. A national army, not a paid army. A national 
press: all editors of German papers must be Germans. Non-German 
(Jewish) papers to be published in their own language and only with 
the special permission of the State. Non-Germans to be barred from 
owning or influencing German papers. Suppression and deportation. 
Prosecution of all tendencies in art and literature likely to disintegrate 
the national life. Liberty of religion. Positive Christianity. The party 
combats the Jewish-materialist spirit. The common interest before 
self! (Gerneinnutz vor Eigennutz!) A strong centralized State. Un- 
questioned authority of the politically centralized parliament, with 
chambers for classes and occupations. . . . 

"The leaders of the party swear to go straight forward if necessary 
to sacrifice their lives in securing fulfilment of the foregoing points." 
Stormy applause. It is almost midnight. The crowd is unfatigued. 
All are impressed. Some are converted. A few are wildly excited. 
Dozens rush up to shake the speaker's hand, to congratulate him, to 
express their renewed hope for the Fatherland. "Who wishes to join 
the new party?" "Where can we reach you?" Pens and paper are 
produced. Names, occupations, addresses are written down. Almost a 
hundred new members are enrolled. The treasury is full with the gate 
receipts. The evening has been an enormous success, even though 
everybody, including Hitler's colleagues in the German Workers' 
Party, promptly forgets about the "program." Hitler has emerged as 
an orator of genius and as indisputable leader and spokesman for the 


resurgence of Deutschland. Forward! Onward and upward to the 
final victory! * 

After the 24th of February 1920 the NSDAP decided to hold a 
great mass meeting once a week. Always there was anxiety among 
the timid. Always Hitler was optimistic. He was the principal speaker 
at every meeting. Week after week, in the Festsaal of the Hofbrau- 
haus, he preached, presenting his party as the bearer of salvation and 
himself as the Messiah and attacking ceaselessly all the groups which 
might be expected to evoke aversion and hatred in the audience. His 
simple message he drove home again and again with unceasing elo- 
quence. Down with the Jews! Down with the Masons! Down with 
Marxists, pacifists, internationalists, capitalists! Two lectures in par- 
ticular he weat over repeatedly : "The True Causes of the World War" 
(presented as a Jewish-Masonic-Marxist-capitalist conspiracy) and 
"The Peace Treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Versailles." 

The slight, pale man, talking simple German and sometimes bad 
German earnestly, fanatically, hoarsely became a familiar platform 
figure with his pleading hands, his burning eyes, his heavy black hair, 
parted on one side and falling over his perspiring brow, his sharp 
nose, his stubby smudge of black moustache above the lips that talked 
and shouted ceaselessly and hypnotically. He perfected his style, his 
gestures, his inflections, and became a polished actor on the beer-hall 
stage. He also issued pamphlets and leaflets, but he knew that the 
magic of oratory was far more effective. From the hated Marxists he 
had learned to appreciate and to practise the collective hypnosis of 
oral agitation and of mass demonstration. Only through demagoguery 
can the masses be won. "The German," he wrote later, "has not the 
slightest notion of how a people must be misled if the adherence of the 
masses is sought." 2 Great mass meetings give people courage and a 
sense of unity. Doubters are won by mass suggestion and by the col- 
lective esprit de corps created by the orator. Exultantly Hitler saw 
himself, through his ever growing audiences and through their ever 
greater enthusiasm, developing into a master demagogue. 8 

1 Mcin Kampf, pp. 400-6; Gottfried Feder: Das Programm der N.S.D.A.P. und seine 
wcltanschaulichcn Grundgcdankjcn (Munich: Verlag Franz Ehcr Nachf.; ist cd., 1927; 
575th thousand, 1933); cf. article by Joseph Berchtold in Voltyscher Bcobachtcr, Febru- 
ary 24, 1934, and T. Heuss, op. cit., pp. 19-22. 

2 This sentence, from Mein Kampf t was deleted from the i2th (1932) and all subse- 
quent editions. 

8 For a summary of this period, with comments on the technique of political oratory, 

rf. Mrin Kamtoi. nrv <i8 28. 


The frustrated artist now found scope for his talent for colour, 
design, and pageantry. Words alone he knew were not enough. Plat- 
forms were of little importance. The masses could be more easily 
conditioned to respond to visual symbols and to the external trappings 
of strength and discipline. Red placards and red cards continued to 
be used to draw workers to the meetings. The Marxist appellation 
"comrade" was useful. Audiences were never addressed as "Damen 
und Herren" but as "VoH(sgenossen und Volf(sgenossinnen (Racial 
comrades or countrymen)" or as "Parteigenossen (Party comrades)." 
Friends and foes were welded together in a common fervor. The 
Marxist press now took notice. Sometimes it tried stony silence. More 
frequently it warned workers not to attend the Hitler meetings. Often 
it resorted to bitter attack, ridicule, and allegations of criminality and 
scandal. All in vain. More and more converts appeared. But hecklers 
and disturbers had always to be disposed of. Never did Hitler dream 
of relying on police protection, for he knew that police protection 
discredited any cause in the eyes of the masses. He dealt with dis- 
turbances by energetic leadership at the meetings and by the gradual 
organization of the ushers and "bouncers" into an Ordnertruppe. Iron 
discipline, savage attacks on enemies, immediate expulsion of dis- 
turbers were the techniques which brought results. In the summer of 
1920 the Ordnertruppe was definitely organized, and by the end of 
the year it had hundreds of members: not venerable old men who 
would evoke respect, as at bourgeois party meetings, but young 
rowdies and ex-soldiers skilled in the arts of physical coercion. 

The Ordnertruppe became the "Sturm-Abteilung" or Storm Divi- 
sion of the party on August 3, 1921. These husky S.A. men (Storm 
Troops) needed uniforms, salutes, and a flag symbols to match the 
colourful spectacles of Socialist and Communist mass meetings. As 
symbol-maker Hitler was also a genius. Whether he studied and 
consciously copied the symbolism of Mussolini's Black Shirts in Italy 
in the 1920-3 period is uncertain. The only direct imitation was the 
Roman salute: right arm outstretched, with fingers together and 
hand open. Black shirts were transmuted (at the suggestion of Lieu- 
tenant Rossbach) into brown shirts for the members of the S.A., 
though black shirts and uniforms were later adopted for the smaller 
and more select armed guard of the Schutzstaffel (S.S.) the first unit 
of which was established in February 1921. 

To the party flag Hitler devoted his most earnest thought. He 


thanked Heaven that his enemies, the democratic and Marxist parties, 
had adopted the detestable black, red, and gold republican banner of 
1848 as the national flag. The sacred imperial black, white, and red 
was unsullied the battle flag of Bismarck and Moltke and William II, 
the glorious flag of the German hosts in their conquest of Belgium, 
their invasion of France, their subjugation of Serbia and Rumania, 
their triumphs in Russia and Italy, in Flanders and on the high seas. 
It still evoked warm and powerful emotions and must in some form 
be used by the NSDAP. Much discussion among the party leaders 
took place on this point in the spring of 1920. Hitler rejected black 
and white as insufficiently striking and objected to white-black and 
white-blue on the ground that they were already state banners. The 
imperial blacjc, white, and red must be used, but in some new and 
striking form. 

The Hafenfoeuz or swastika flag was the product of Hitler's 
cogitations on this problem. Where he first encountered the design of 
the swastika or hooked cross he has never recorded and has perhaps 
forgotten. The design itself is ancient and wiclely disseminated among 
the cultures of the world. Early in the nineteenth century the German 
archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, while conducting excavations at 
the site of ancient Troy, found hundreds of spindles marked with 
swastikas. Ijn seeking their meaning Schliemann was told by the 
French archaeologist, Emile Burnouf, perhaps facetiously, that they 
were used by the ancient "Aryans," who kindled their fires with bore- 
sticks. The swastika was tfie feminine counterpart of the bore-stick. 
Schliemann accepted this and wrote a commentary on the swastika 
as an "Aryan" symbol. But to the Chinese the emblem signified good 
luck, and to the Hindus it symbolized sexual ardour and fertility. 
-In'modern Europe it came to symbolize anti-Semitism. In the State 
Historical Museum at Kiev are black-and-white swastika flags used 
by the bandit leader Petlura in 1919, when he harried the Ukraine 
with fire and sword, slaughtering Jews wherever he went. What- 
ever his first contact with it, to Hitler it also signified anti-Semitism. 
He adopted the design and combined it with the imperial colours. 
A red flag: Socialism. On it a white circle: Nationalism. Within the 
circle a black Ha\enlyreuz: Anti-Semitism. The first flag was un- 
furled in midsummer 1920. It worked on youth like a charm and 
became a flaming torch of the movement. Swastika arm-bands were 
likewise devised for the storm troopers, and later came the "stand- 


ards" of ancient Roman design, with the black metal swastika on 
top within a silver wreath surmounted by an eagle, "NSDAP" en 
a metal rectangle below, and betow this, suspended by cords with 
fringe and tassels, a square Ha\en1(reuz flag with "Deutschland 
erwachel" blazoned upon it. Here was political artistry of the high- 
est type. Its magic was as great as that of Hitler's oratory. 

This colourful semi-military pageantry, combined with patriotic 
and socialistic slogans, with the old symbols of imperial glory and 
armed might, with the strange new symbols of a mysterious and 
glorious "Third Reich," with ceaseless denunciations of Jews, Marx- 
ists, foreigners, capitalists, Masons, pacifists, internationalists, and 
radicals, appealed powerfully to the imagination of the Bavarian 
Kleinburgertum. The intolerable frustrations and resentments of 
these people were due to the cumulative effect of numerous dangers 
and disappointments: the defeat of 1918, the unwanted "revolution," 
the unwelcome republic, the Allied demands for reparations, the 
spectre of inflation, Spartacist uprisings and proletarian disorders, 
war profiteering, inflation profiteering, and the ever present dread 
of econ^mc insecurity, social degradation, and psychic disintegration. 
Here, i^me pale, passionate young man on the platform, in the flags 
and music and uniforms of determined soldiers, was a promise of 
solace and salvation. By the autumn of 1920 the party was holding 
two meetings a week and filling the largest beer halls with eager 
throngs. No other party save the Social Democrats could hold such 
impressive mass demonstrations. Even the Miinchener-Kindl-Keller, 
holding five thousand persons, was often overcrowded. The party 
treasury grew constantly and in December 1920 Hitler was able to 
buy the Munchener Eeobachter with money secured by Eckart from 
General von Epp. He changed its name to Vol^tscher Beobachter 
(Racial Observer) and, with the help of Hermann Esser, converted 
it into a strikingly effective propaganda sheet. 

On February i, 1921, Hitler demanded a decision from his col- 
leagues on his earlier proposal to hold a gigantic mass meeting in the 
Circus Krone. This would be the most ambitious and expensive 
program yet undertaken. The skeptics were doubtful. Hitler in- 
sisted and arranged a meeting for Friday, February 3. A universally 
popular theme must be chosen to draw the crowds. He would pro- 
test against reparations. Only one day to advertise. Thursday morn- 
ing it rained. But pamphlets were printed and they were distributed 


over the city throughout the day by storm troopers in two trucks 
painted red and decorated with the new flags. At seven o'clock Fri- 
day evening the huge circus was less than half full. By seven forty- 
five it was three-quarters full. At two minutes past eight Hitler came 
in. He was intoxicated by the spectacle. Fifty-six hundred tickets 
were sold. Unemployed and poor students were admitted free. In 
all, some 6,500 people were present. Hitler orated for two and a half 
hours on "Zufanjt oder Untergang." The applause was never greater. 
At the end he received a tremendous ovation. The crowd sang the 
Deutschland-Lied as never before. For twenty minutes he watched 
enraptured as the inspired thousands poured forth from the hall. 

During 192,1 and 1922 the NSDAP continued to grow rapidly and 
to develop its organization not only in Munich, but throughout 
Bavaria. The first Ortsgruppen outside of Munich were established at 
Landshut and Rosenheim in February 1921. Ambitious soldiers and 
political adventurers flocked into the movement. Various other re- 
actionary and anti-republican groups with similar aims, such as 
Julius Streicher's Deutschsozialistische Partei in Niirnberg, merged 
with the NSDAP. By the close of 1920 there were three thousand 
members. Thousands more joined in the following year some to 
save the Fatherland, some to recover the atmosphere of war for which 
they yearned, some to fish in troubled waters. Hitler became presi- 
dent of the party on July 29, 1921, and assumed dictatorial powers. 
Drexler faded from the picture. A few of the personalities who 
gathered around Der Fiihrer were destined to have their ambi- 
tions fulfilled. . . . 

Hermann Goring was then a dashing blond young aviator, rest- 
less, ambitious, disgruntled with civilian dullness after the savage 
excitement of war in the air. He was born at Rosenheim, Bavaria, 
January 12, 1893, of Lutheran parents. His father was a high official, 
a Prussian army officer, and a colonial administrator in Africa. He 
sent his son into the army. He had influence. At nineteen young 
Hermann was a lieutenant in an infantry regiment at Miihlhausen. 
In October 1914 he became an aerial observer and with the develop- 
ment of air combat he was presently a pilot (May 1915), a combat 
flyer (March 1916), and finally an "ace," shooting down enemy 
planes with enthusiasm, skill, and dispatch. In June 1918 he attained 
the highest of aviation honours: he was named Captain of the famous 


Freiherr von Richthofen squadron, organized and led, until his 
death, by the greatest of all war aces. 

After the war Goring, like Hitler, found a return to civil life 
intolerable. His fierce energies thirsted for action. He continued to 
be an aviator. Hg..bp.gan taking.jnorphiae, first as an occasional 
stimulant and later in such quantities as to undermine his reason. 
In 1919 he was a pilot in Denmark. In 1920-1 he became an official 
in the Svenska Lufttrafik in Stockholm. When on one occasion he 
made a forced landing on the estate of a Swedish nobleman, Count 
Rosen, he met the beautiful Baroness Karin von Fock. The young 
aviator fell in lovejmd subsequently married the frail girl, despite 

year 1922 brought Goring to Munich, 

where he undertook to study history and economics at the university. 
He lived with his wife in a near-by chalet high in the Bavarian moun- 
tains. The fanaticism and military fervour of the NSDAP soon 
proved a greater attraction than his studies. He joined, met Hitler, 
threw himself into organizing and disciplining the Storm Troops, 
and was appointed leader of the S.A. in December 1922, after he 
had made generous donations from his ample fortune. That his^great 
hero, von Richthofen, had had Jewish blood in his veins did not 
derfrGoring from embracing anti-Semitism. The movement prom- 
ised action, conflict, and ultimately perhaps great prestige and power. 
This was enough for the inordinately vain and ambitious young 
flyer. 1 , - 

Rudolf iHesf- "the Egyptian" was a soldier of a very different 
mien. Born April 26, 1896, in Alexandria, son of a German wholesale 
merchant and a Swiss mother, he spent the first fourteen years of 
his life in Egypt and then came to the Rhineland as a student. In 
1914 he volunteered for war and served in the First Bavarian In- 
fantry Regiment. On June 12, 1916, he was wounded before Verdun. 
Later he fought in the Rumanian campaign, and on August 7, 1917, 
was wounded again in the Carpathians. He served in Hitler's regi- 
ment on the western front and became one of his few friends. After 
the armistice he studied business in Munich, but he, too, could find 
no peace in peace. He became a vender of anti-Semitic pamphlets 
and barely escaped arrest by the Soviet authorities in April 1919. On 
May i he took part in the "liberation" of Munich and was wounded 

1 Cf. Edgar Schmidt-Pauli, op. cit., pp. 86-91, and sketches of Goring and other leaders 
in Curt Rosten: Das A.B.C. dcs Nationalsozialismus (Schmidt; 1933). pp. 257-76. 


in the leg. In May 1921 he joined the NSDAP and became a storm 
trooper. In one of the many brawls in the Hofbrauhaus he received 
a deep gash on the head from a flying beer-mug. He was slim, dark, 
square-faced, thin-lipped, with beetling black brows in an unbroken 
line across his forehead, framing keen grey eyes. Quiet, unpretentious, 
retiring, and with a talent for secretarial work, he was perhaps closer 
to Hitler than anyone else. 

Another soldier one hundred per cent a soldier was Ernst 
His martial fervour made him a traitor to the pacific Weimar Re- 
public. In 1928, in Munich, he published his autobiography under 
the title of The History of a Traitor. It begins: "Am 23 Juli, 1906, 
werde ich soldat" He was born November 28, 1887. His father was 
a railway official, and almost all his ancestors were Bavarian bureau- 
crats. But for 'him life began only when he became a soldier. He 
entered the Tenth Bavarian Infantry Regiment and in 1908 became 
an officer. He entered the war as a lieutenant and emerged as a cap- 
tain. In September 1914 the upper half of his nose was shot away. 
In June 1916 he was seriously wounded in leading his company in 
an attack on Fort Thiaumont at Verdun. For a time he served in 
the Bavarian Ministry of War. May 1917 found him on the Rumanian 
front. April 1918 saw him on the western front again before Reims, 
where he came to know Ludendorflf. In October 1918 he contracted 
grippe and was given up as lost by the physicians, but he recovered 
and joined his regiment in the retreat toward Brussels. 

In 1919 Rohm joined Franz von Epp's illegal Freicorps and had 
to flee over the border to escape arrest. He marched under von Epp 
against Red Munich and became chief of staff of the municipal 
soldiery. In March 1920 he participated in the suppression of the 
Communist insurrection in the Ruhr. Wherever troops and fight- 
ing were tobe found, there was Rohm. He was short, stocky, bull- 
necked, with a small moustache and small piggish eyes set in a hard, 
round, deeply scarred face. His participation in illegal terrorist bands 
jeopardized his official military position at times, but he continued 
to hold his post. He was one of the early members of the Deutsche 
Arbeiterpartei and later became an S.A. commander. His years spent 
in barracks and trenches, and again in barracks, had made him a 
homosexual but this "defect" was (until many years later) an asset 
rather than a liabijjty in the NSDAP. 

There were many other soldiers in the movement men wounded 


in body and soul, men attuned by years of fear (and by over-com- 
pensation for their fear) to brutality and terror, men utterly unable 
to resume civilian life, frustrated men, embittered men, desperate 
men, violent men, thirsting for violence (and some of them doomed 
to die by violence), seeking a road back to the free camaraderie, the 
licence, the sacred death-danger of the trenches. There was Max 
Amann, a soldier in Hitler's regiment; Philip Bouhler, a war casualty 
and a worker on the staff of the V.B.; Wilhelm Bruckner; Edmund 
Heines, destined to become a Feme murderer and to be murdered 
in turn by those whom he had served; Wilhelm Kube, who, in 1910, 
had founded the Deutschvolkischen Studentenbund under the sign 
of the Hal(cn^reuz; Hans Kerrl, war volunteer, lieutenant, jurist, 
party member in 1923 and district leader (Kreisleiter) in Peine. 
There was also Viktor Lutze, born September 28, 1890, in Bevergern, 
near Miinster. He became a soldier in 1912 and lost his left eye in 
the war. He joined the party in 1922. And there was, not among the 
least, Gregor Strasser, born May 31, 1892, in Gcisetifeld, Bavaria, a 
war volunteer promoted to lieutenant and decorated for his valour. 
In 1918 he became a druggist. In February 1921 he joined the party 
and later became leader of the S.A. in Lower Bavaria. 

These men and thousands of others like them furnished the re- 
cruits and often the leadership of the innumerable "volunteer corps" 
which sprang up after the war. These bodies were in part an out- 
growth of the pre-war "youth movement" and represented a middle 
class reaction against urban cosmopolitan life and against the inhibi- 
tions and regimentations of industrial society. In larger part they 
were associations of war veterans, ultra-patriotic, reactionary, and 
anti-republican. They found opportunities for action in the border 
disturbances and internal party and class conflicts of the early years 
of the new regime. The republican government repeatedly author- 
ized army officers to organize Freicorps to protect the frontiers, to 
preserve "law and order," and to protect property against proletarian 
radicalism. Such officers often became anti-republican leaders, whose 
troops resisted attempts at dissolution, retained their arms, and be- 
came military secret societies of political terrorists. In 1922 some 
fifty such organizations were united in the Vereinigten Vaterlan- 
dischen Verbande Deutschlands, comprising the Stahlhelm, Deut- 
scher Reichskriegerbund Kyffhauser, Bund Oberland, Bund Bayern 
und Reich, Jungdeutscher Orden, Bund Viking, Grossdeutscher Bal- 


tikumverband, Werwolf, Dcutschcr Wehrverein, Reichsoffiziers- 
bund, Nationalverband deutscher Offiziere, Reichskricgsflaggc, 
Bliicherbund, and many others. 1 

Nowhere did such groups of reactionary military adventurers 
flourish more abundantly than in Munich after 1919. The S.A. of 
the NSDAP was but another organization of a type already familiar. 
To it came many members of other organizations. In the relations 
between these groups of self-appointed and officially tolerated con- 
dottieri there was sometimes friction, sometimes collaboration, and 
always ultra-patriotic military mysticism, anti-Semitism, anti-repub- 
licanism, and an atmosphere of intrigue and conspiracy leading 
often to astonishing results. The soldier leaders who gathered around 
Hitler were men of this type, violent, sincere, fanatic, ambitious, 
ready for any wild adventure which promised personal profit and 
prestige and a "liberation" of the Fatherland from the Marxists and 
Jews. 2 

While Hitler's movement was primarily a soldiers' movement, 
there was drawn into it a number of other figures without military 
experience but with other special talents which gave them promi- 
nence. Gottfried Feder has already been mentioned. His pamphlets 
against "interest slavery" were precursors of the party program which 
he wrote and interpreted. Wilhelm Frick (born in Kaiserlautern in 
the Pfalz, March 12, 1877), son of a teacher, was a jurist and police 
official. He did not become a party member at this period, but was 
an ardent sympathizer whose position in the Munich Polizcidiretyion 
was invaluable to the NSDAP. Outstanding among the early civilian 
leaders was Alfred Rosenberg, the Russo-German with the Jewish 
name who later made amends for his name and his birthplace by 
becoming the most rabid anti-Semitic and anti-Russian leader of 
the party. He spent his childhood in Reval, where he had been born 
on January 12, 1893. In 1915 he moved to Moscow, along with the 
technical school in which he was studying. In 1917 he received his 
diploma as engineer architect and in February 1918 returned to 
Reval shortly before its occupation by the German army. As a good 
German, he volunteered for military service, but was refused because 
of his alien nationality. The remainder of the year he spent as a high- 

1 Cf. Ernst Ottwalt: Deutschland Erwachel, pp. 129-33. 

2 C. Ernst H. Posse: Politische Kamp\bnnde Deutschlands (Berlin: Junker aivl 

Diinnhaupt; 1931), PP- 3~i9- 


school teacher in his native city. In December 1918 he made his way 
to Munich, where he met Dietrich Eckart and became an anti-Semitic 
and anti-Bolshevist pamphleteer. On April 8, 1919, he delivered a 
twenty-minute oration in the Marktplatz, denouncing Jews and 
Marxists, and fled just in time to avoid arrest by the Soviet police. 
Later in the year he met Hitler and joined the new party. He col- 
laborated with Dietrich Eckart on the V.B. and became its chief 
editor in July 1921. He was tall, blond, philosophical, and a prolific 
writer, championing "Nordic" purity and condemning with fanatical 
hate Jews, Slavs, Marxists, Masons, pacifists, liberals, et al. in hun- 
dreds of articles, brochures, and books. Here was the future philoso- 
pher of the movement and the man destined to become the party's 
unofficial foreign minister. 

Such were the men with whom Hitler worked in building and 
expanding his movement. The party headquarters were at first 
located in a small dark room in the Sterneckerbrau, rented for fifty 
marks per month. Electric lighting was soon acquired, then a tele- 
phone, and finally some office furniture, including a safe. A soldier, 
Schussler, was the first permanent secretary. He brought his own 
small typewriter with him and worked hard for the cause. In mid- 
summer of 1921 Hitler persuaded his old comrade Max Amann to 
become business manager of the party, which by then had moved 
its headquarters to Corneliustrasse, where three rooms and a large 
office were rented and where the headquarters remained until No- 
vember 1923. Amann administered his office ably, discouraged spoils 
appointments to party posts, and kept the organization out of debt 
despite the inflation. The V.B. became a widely read party organ 
as soon as its staff, consisting largely of former members of the 
Bavarian People's Party, was won over to the NSDAP. The paper, 
published at first twice a week, became a daily early in 1923 and in 
August of that year broke with Continental press traditions and 
adopted a large, sensational format with screaming headlines, com- 
parable to "yellow journals" in the United States. By November 1923 
the assets^ of the party, including the paper and its other properties, 
were worth 170,000 gold marks. 1 

The careful organization of the party and of its propaganda agen- 
cies was paralleled by an expansion of its storm-troop division. The 
S.A. was open not only to veterans, but to younger men. It was less 

1 Mein Kampf, pp. 662-9. 


a military organization than a weapon of propaganda, of education, 
^nd, if need be, of disciplined force. It was not a secret political 
society, but a mass organization of fanatic fighters, wearing uniforms, 
emblems, and arm-bands. Their zeal in terrorizing and breaking up 
opposition meetings cost Hitler a month in jail in January 1922. In 
the late summer of 1922 the S.A. participated in a meeting in the 
Konigsplatz of all the patriotic bands to protest against the dissolu- 
tion order from Berlin, prompted by liberal indignation at the 
murder of Foreign Minister Rathenau. The S.A. created a great 
sensation with two bands and fifteen flags and beat off the attacks 
of republicans who tried to interfere with the march. 

In October 1922 Hitler led 800 S.A. men and 1,400 party members 
to a "German Day" demonstration in Coburg, a hotbed of prole- 
tarian radicalism. When the flag-bedecked Sunday train entered 
the local station, the demonstrators were warned against marching 
through the streets with bands and banners. The warning was ig- 
nored and the march went forward. Infuriated workers called the 
brown-shirted storm troopers "bandits" and "criminals" and finally 
stoned them, thus precipitating a general riot. The disciplined S.A. 
men at length cleared the streets of the Red mob, which reassembled 
the next morning, however, to protest against the Nazi provocation. 
Hitler ordered his followers to march to the square designated for 
the meeting. A number of unarmed citizens were there beaten up 
by the storm troopers, who then proceeded to the railway station, 
gratified at having "suppressed the Red terror," restored "law and 
order," and demonstrated their ability to terrorize their proletarian 
enemies. The railway workers refused to transport them back to 
Munich, but finally yielded under threats of further violence. This 
"victory" encouraged Hitler to send his troopers to other towns to 
"clean up the Reds" and caused him to look forward optimistically 
to prospects of triumph over the "November criminals" and the whole 
republican regime. 1 


THESE dreams of power on the part of a little group of obscure adven- 
turers in Munich, led by an unknown Austrian fanatic, were ludi- 
crous to outside observers. But the constantly deepening crisis of 
* Ibid., pp. 579-620. 


the Reich created a growing market for Hitler's panaceas and weak- 
ened the prestige of the republic sufficiently to offer hope of success 
for a well-planned revolt, with the collaboration of other reaction- 
aries. Throughout the entire year of the Ruhr invasion and the dis- 
astrous inflation political tension between Right, Centre, and Left 
groups constantly increased, with rumours of putsches, conspiracies, 
and intrigues on every hand and no small amount of rioting, street 
battles, and general disorder. 

Nazi demonstrations in Munich during the latter half of Janu- 
ary precipitated bloody street clashes. On the "Party Day" of the 
NSDAP on January 27, 1923, six thousand men took part in flag 
ceremonies. Under the impetus of economic collapse and national 
humiliation the party membership grew to seventy thousand by 
autumn. General Erich von Ludendorff gave his sympathy and sup- 
port to the movement and his was still a name to conjure with, 
despite his political naivete and his half-ludicrous, half-pathological 
reactionary fanaticism. Money was also forthcoming from those who 
hoped to use the party for their own advantage. Considerable sums 
were donated by Munich and Niirnberg industrialists, including one 
contribution of twenty thousand dollars. Dollars would buy mil- 
lions of marks by midsummer, and Hitler even succeeded in banking 
some of the party's funds safely abroad. 1 

The party, however, would have been unable to continue its anti- 
republican activities and to make a bid for power had it not been 
for reactionary intrigue and treasonable conspirings in high places 
in the Bavarian government. Hitler found allies among conservatives 
and reactionaries with axes of their own to grind. Without their aid 
nothing could have been attempted. The drama of 1923 was to repeat 
itself on a larger stage in 1933. By then Hitler would have learned 
to use such allies to advantage, to trick them before they tricked him, 
and to betray his betrayers at the crucial moment. This hard lesson 
in Machiavellian politics he had not sufficiently learned in the year 
of the battle of the Ruhr. He was only dimly aware of the motives 
and purposes of those in high places who encouraged him. He could 
neither guess what they would do in a crisis, nor control their be- 
haviour, nor yet outwit them by superior strategy. He could only 
use them (knowing vaguely that they were using him) and thus 

1 Tacitus Redivivus: Die grosse Trommel. Lcben, Kampf, und Traumlallen Adolj 
Hitlers (Berlin, Zurich: Deutsch-Schwcizer Verlag Anst.; 1930), pp. 83-4. 


muddle and blunder to the threshold of power and there meet treason 
and defeat. 

The intricacies of reactionary politics in the Bavaria of 1923 were 
not only beyond Hitler's full comprehension, but are difficult to 
unravel even in retrospect. Early in September, Hitler denounced the 
Reich government in a large gathering of the various Kampfver- 
bdnde in Niirnberg. New Nazi slogans were now resounding through 
the land: "Up in arms against Red Berlin." "Never rest until the 
criminals of November 9, 1918, are overthrown!" "The pigsty in 
Berlin must be cleaned out!" Later in the month Gustav von Kahr 
became Generalstaatskommissar for Bavaria, with almost dictatorial 
powers. He was supported by the Catholic Bavarian People's Party 
and maintained close relations with Cardinal Faulhaber and the 
Vatican, as well as with numerous militarist and monarchist groups. 
His ambitions, in so far as they were formulated, tended in the direc- 
tion of an independent Bavaria, possibly united with Austria under 
a Wittelsbach or Habsburg ruler. A "march on Red Berlin" was no 
part of his program. The Reich government was merely an obstacle 
to separatism and to a local monarchical restoration. The demagogue 
Hitler was useful only as a tool to secure mass support among the 
Kleinburgertum and peasantry as a counterweight to the industrial 
proletariat, which was either loyal to the republic or interested in a 
general social revolution which would sweep away the existing ruling 
class, republican and monarchist alike. 

By October i Kahr felt safe in announcing his monarchist sym- 
pathies. By the middle of the month Socialist-Communist coalition 
governments were set up in Saxony and Thuringia. The authorities 
in Berlin viewed this development with more alarm than the in- 
trigues of the reactionaries and they defended the Bavarian govern- 
ment from Socialist allegations that it was conspiring with France 
to secede from the Reich. Kahr perceived correctly that he could pro- 
ceed to great lengths in defying Berlin without provoking repressive 
measures. On October 18 he broke off diplomatic relations with the 
"Red" government of Saxony. On the I9th the Reichswehr Ministry, 
headed by General von Seekt, ordered the suppression of the V.B., 
in which anti-republican agitation had reached fever pitch. General 
von Lossow, commander of the Reichswehr in Bavaria, refused to 
carry out the order, while Kahr sent the notorious freebooter and 
putschist, Captain Ehrhardt, to "defend" northern Bavaria, pre- 


sumably against the Reich. In the face of this defiance Seekt ordered 
Lossow relieved of his command and appointed General von Kres- 
senstein in his place. On the 20th the Reich government accused the 
Bavarian authorities of violating the Constitution. Seekt ordered the 
Seventh Division (in Bavaria) to obey his orders on penalty of being 
proceeded against for military insubordination, but Lossow calmly 
refused to give up his post. The removal order was set aside by the 
Bavarian Cabinet, with an appeal to Article 48 of the Reich Constitu- 
tion. The Berlin authorities contented themselves with shooting Com- 
munist workmen in Hamburg and suppressing the radical govern- 
ments of Saxony and Thuringia by force. The Bavarian reactionaries 
were immune. 

In all of these events Hitler was an interested but not always an 
intelligent onlooker. The "march on Berlin" had become with him 
a fixed idea. He forgot that he was expected by his reactionary sup- 
porters to be only an agitator and demagogue and not a would-be 
dictator. Early in November Lieutenant von Seisser, Munich police 
chief, went to Berlin and returned to report to Kahr that Seekt was 
firmly supported and that the time was inopportune for a separatist 
coup. The Bavarian particularists and monarchists, moreover, were 
disorganized and mutually suspicious. At the same time the great 
industrialist Hugo Stinnes dropped his general director, Friedrich 
Minoux, who had been his liaison agent with various pan-German 
reactionaries and who apparently had had contacts with Hitler and 
Ludendorff as well. On November 6 Kahr told the leaders of the 
Kampfverbande that a march on Berlin would be dangerous and 
difficult. Hitler's representative at the meeting, Kriebel, received the 
impression that Kahr was personally willing to join in a revolt, but 
was hesitant and needed to be pushed into action. Hitler laid his 
plans accordingly. He had already decided, with his curious flair for 
superstition and symbolism, that the "national awakening" should 
be proclaimed precisely on November 9, the fifth anniversary of the 
detestable "Jewish-Marxist" revolution. He had armed forces at his 
disposal in the S.A. detachments. But they were inadequate for the 
task in hand, if they should be opposed by the armed forces of the 
State. He made no effort to mobilize them. He must make his revolu- 
tion with the police and the Reichswehr, not against them. Seisser 
controlled the police. Lossow controlled the Reichswehr. Kahr con- 
trolled the government. If these three could be won over, all would 


be well. If not . . . ? But all doubts must be dismissed! His Destiny 
summoned him to duty and to glorious deeds. 

On the evening of November 8, a great mass meeting of the Kampf- 
verbande was held in the Biirgerbrau. Kahr, Seisser, and Lossow 
were present. Kahr spoke in his usual inflammatory, anti-republican 
vein, though perhaps intending ultimately to urge moderation and 
delay. When he was only half finished, he was interrupted by shout- 
ing at the door. To his surprise, he saw Hitler appear, surrounded 
by uniformed and armed Nazi storm troopers. The treatrical Aus- 
trian had agreed to refrain from any unauthorized adventure. But 
he now jumped upon a table and fired two shots at the ceiling. With 
his revolver smoking, he leaped to the tribune and shouted to the 
audience: "The national revolution has broken out. The hall is cov- 
ered by six hundred heavily armed men. No one may leave the hall. 
The Bavarian government is deposed. The Reich government is 
deposed. A provisional Reich government will be created. The bar- 
racks of the Reichswehr and the police are occupied. The Reichswehr 
and the police are united under the Hal^enf^reuz flag. . . ." This was 
untrue, but it produced the desired effect. 

Hitler beckoned Kahr, Seisser, and Lossow to join him in a near-by 
room, where he pleaded with them to support the "revolution." He 
had the new Constitution and the personnel of the new government 
ready. Bavaria must prepare the national revolution. Bavaria must 
have a Landesverweser. Pohner should be Bavarian Minister-Presi- 
dent, with dictatorial powers. His Excellency Von Kahr should be 
Landesverweser. Hitler would head the national government, Luden- 
dorff the national army, Lossow would be Reichswehr Minister. Seis- 
ser would be Minister of Police. . . . Please, please . . . you must fight 
on with me, to victory or death. . . . Hitler brandished his revolver 
and declared that he had four bullets left, one for each of his unwilling 
auditors and one for himself if they deserted him. He wept with 
excitement and ordered a stein of beer. Suddenly Ludendorff appeared 
in medals and uniform and urged them to accept. Kahr hesitated 
and finally said that as a monarchist he could accept the proffered 
post only as a Statthalter for the monarchy. Hitler assented. "Of 
course, Your Excellency." Kahr gave his two colleagues the wink. 
They assented. All four returned to the hall, where Goring had been 
haranguing the multitude. 

Now for speeches. Hitler first: "The government of the November 


criminals in Berlin will be declared deposed. Ebert will be declared 
deposed. The new government will consist of. ... Morning will find 
either a national government in Germany or us dead." Ludendorff 
was overcome with emotion: "This hour signifies a turning-point 
in our history. ... If we do this work with pure hearts, German men, 
I shall have no doubts but that God's blessing will be with us. ... 
The Lord God in heaven, when He sees that at last German men 
are again here, will be with us." Kahr: "In the Fatherland's deepest 
need I take over the destiny of Bavaria as Statthaher of the monarchy, 
destroyed five years ago by impious hands. . . ." Others spoke. Hitler 
was elated and trusted his "colleagues" with childlike faith. He left 
the hall with Kahr, Lossow and Seisser. He suggested that they pro- 
ceed at once to the organization of the new government.,Kahr com- 
plained that he was tired. "Dazu ist morgen friih ja auch noch Zeit" 
Hitler acquiesced. "]a wohl, Exzellenz, selbstverstandlich" They 
parted. Hitler remained in a daze in the Biirgerbrau. Kahr went home 
presumably to bed. Everything would be arranged in the morning. 

That night the tall Gothic spire of the Rathaus and the twin towers 
of the Frauenkirche looked down upon scenes of wild disorder. 
Armed Nazi storm troopers flooded the streets. They attempted to 
seize control of the main railway station and the telegraph office, 
but were thwarted by the police, who withheld their co-operation. 
They assaulted Jewish passers-by. The first Biirgermeister of the 
city, and the Social Democratic members of the City Council were 
imprisoned as hostages. The press establishments which printed cur- 
rency were broken into and robbed by brown-shirted rowdies. The 
officers of an Entente mission were seized in their hotel in the middle 
of the night, and only the urgent warnings of the proprietor about 
the dangers of international complications prevented their immediate 
imprisonment. Trade-union headquarters were stoned and the offices 
of the Munchener Post, the local organ of Social Democracy, were 
plundered and destroyed. Hitler and his aides remained in the 
Biirgerbrau, waiting for they scarcely knew what. 

Kahr was not in his bed. He conferred with Herr Matt, Minister 
of Education and a faithful son of the Church. Together they went 
to consult Archbishop Faulhaber, and from the latter's residence they 
telephoned the royal villa at Berchtesgaden and spoke to "His High- 
ness" the Wittelsbach Crown Prince Rupprecht. He, as well as the 
Archbishop, repudiated the putsch. Kahr decided upon his course 


of action. Seisser and Lossow concurred. Hitler, though quite un- 
aware of these events, was becoming nervous. He sent an agent to 
see Kahr. He was not at home. Seisser and Lossow were in the 
Reichswehr barracks. Hitler sent an agent to see them. The agent 
was arrested. A second, a third, was sent. None came back. The 
devil! Just before three a.m. the announcement came that the three 
conspirators had been compelled to support the putsch in the Biirger- 
brau at the point of a gun and now repudiated Hitler and all his 
works. Two hours later the government announced: "Barracks and 
public buildings in our hands. Reichswehr and police reinforcements 
on march. City quiet." 

This "treachery" was to cost the leader of the triumvirate his 
life, but Hitler's revenge was to strike eleven years in the future. 
What was to be done immediately? The dawn of November 9 found 
all strategic points in the city in the hands of the enemy. Hitler had 
no military force which could cope with this emergency. An alarm 
to the S.A. in Regensburg was intercepted by the Reichswehr. 
Gregor Strasser's S.A. unit from Landshut was not to arrive in Munich 
till afternoon. What to do ? Speeches and a parade were all that Hitler 
could think of. He instructed his aides to make speeches and to win 
public opinion to the cause. A mass demonstration in the morning 
might yet save the day, even though Kahr proclaimed the dissolution 
of the NSDAP, as well as of the Kampjverbdnde Oberland and 
Reichsflagge. Reichswehr and police were everywhere, but they 
would not shoot. Rohm said that they would not dare to shed German 
blood. Ludendorff agreed. 

"Wir marschierenl" The columns gathered near the Biirgerbrau 
in the morning, with flags and much hurrahing. A conflict must be 
avoided, since it meant certain defeat. The armed storm troopers 
were accordingly put in the rear of the procession. At the front were 
the flags and the leaders, including Hitler and Ludendorflf. They 
marched through the beflagged streets amid ominous silence from the 
police and the Reichswehr. The Feldherrnhalle on Odeonplatz was 
their destination. As they approached it, they found their way barred 
by police and troops. It was high noon. They went forward. 

A salvo of shots rang out. The first Haf(en\reuz flag fell to the 
street. The firing continued. Men dropped to the right and left. 
Eighteen young men died before the guns, and as many more were 
wounded. The youngest of them was only nineteen a student, Karl 


La Force ironically, of French descent. Ludendorff marched on. 
The troops parted and he passed through unharmed and disap- 
peared. Hitler fell on his belly, dislocating his arm and fracturing a 
shoulder-blade. Whether he was pulled down by the man next to 
him, who was slain, Dr. von Scheubner-Richter, or whether he re- 
verted automatically to the gesture which had repeatedly saved his 
life amid the machine-gun bullets and exploding shells on the western 
front is uncertain. In the confusion he was seized by his comrades, 
hustled into a car, and taken outside of the city to the town of Uffing, 
where he hid three days in the home of his wealthy friend Ernst 
Hanfstangl, before surrendering to the police. Goring was wounded 
and sought safety in flight. The other leaders scattered. The proces- 
sion was smashed. The putsch was over. In the afternoon Kahr sent 
a polite telegram to Seekt, thanking him for his friendly offer of 
Reichswehr reinforcements and assuring him that they were unneces- 
sary since the revolt was crushed and order had been restored. The 
storm troopers ran off in all directions and hastily divested themselves 
of their uniforms and arm-bands. "Germany's awakening" was not 
yet. 1 


ON FEBRUARY 26, 1924, the memorable Hitler-Ludendorff trial began. 
The court was not a federal court, but one of the lower Bavarian 
tribunals one which, incidentally, had assisted in the liquidation of 
the 1919 Soviet by imposing death sentences and long prison terms 
on surviving Socialist and Spartacist leaders. In this instance it was 
clear that there would be no vindictiveness, no judicial severity toward 
the accused. They had, to be sure, attempted to overthrow the state 
and national governments by force. And the German Penal Code 
(Article 81) declared: "Whoever attempts to alter by force the Con- 
stitution of the German Reich or of any German state shall be pun- 
ished by lifelong imprisonment." But the letter of the law could be 
stretched to temper justice foith mercy. The accused had acted from 
the highest "patriotic" motives. The primary purpose of the court 

1 Cf. Emil Lengyel: Hitler, pp. 80-8; Ernst Ottwalt: Deutschland Erwachel, pp. 
196-211; Fritz Schwann: Von Ebert bis Hindenburg (Leipzig: Koch; 1928), pp. 
249-57; Weigand von Miltenbcrg: Adolf Hitler, William III (Berlin: Rowohlt; 1931), 
pp. 41-8. 


was to protect Kahr, Lossow, and Seisser from any suspicion of com- 
plicity. While there was no formal agreement to this effect, there 
was apparently an understanding that Hitler and his co-defendants 
would minimize the "betrayal" of November 9 in return for lenient 
sentences. Shortly before the trial opened, the Landesgerichtdirektor 
was promoted and replaced in the presidency of the court by Dr. 
Neidhardt, a prominent clerical who was evidently regarded as 
"safer" from the point of view of those in high public office. 

While the NSDAP had been definitely outlawed on November 
23, 1923, sympathy for the defendants among the Munich Klein- 
bilrgertum had increased rather than diminished. Elaborate precau- 
tions were taken to prevent a possible Nazi demonstration. On the 
day before the trial opened, shots were fired, an alarm was sounded, 
and a military demonstration was staged as a warning. At the court 
itself, all witnesses and visitors, including the women, who came in 
large numbers, were searched for weapons. The proceedings were 
conducted in the dining-hall of the Infanterieschule. They assumed 
the form of a friendly discussion of the principles of National- 
socialism. The seminar atmosphere was at times superseded by the 
atmosphere of a political meeting. On one occasion Hitler was per- 
mitted to deliver a four-hour harangue to the audience and to 
"posterity." At the close of the hearings, as an appropriate climax, 
he was again permitted to appeal for the applause of the multitude. 
An outside observer would at times have had difficulty in ascertain- 
ing whether the government was prosecuting the conspirators or the 
conspirators were prosecuting the government. 

There were ten defendants on trial for high treason: Ludendorflf; 
Hitler; Pohner; Frick; Wagner; Kriebel; Rohm, at this time both 
an S.A. commander and leader of one of the independent Kampf- 
bunde, the "Reichskriegsflagge"; Bruckner, Nazi leader of the 
Miinchen district; Weber, leader of the Bundes Oberland; and Per- 
net, LudendorfFs stepson, who had seized money for the Nazi storm 
troopers in two large business establishments on the morning of 
November 9. Kahr, Lossow, and Seisser were of course not prose- 
cuted for their anti-republican activities or their dealings with Hitler. 
The only government official accused of complicity was Oberamt- 
mann Dr. Wilhelm Frick, head of the political division of the 
Munich police administration. He testified that the police had pro- 
tected and encouraged the NSDAP. "We held our protecting hand 


over Herr Hitler, because we saw therein the germ of Germany's re- 
generation. . . . Kahr tolerated the attitude of the police administra- 
tion without complaint." But Kahr was immune. 

Dr. Neidhardt questioned the defendants at length as to their past, 
their motives, their political beliefs. Ludendorff was red-faced, excited, 
nervous. For the Supreme War Lord of Imperial Germany to be 
subjected to such an indignity was too much. He asserted that he 
had nothing to do with planning the putsch. He had joined only 
because Lossow had joined. This was both untrue and dangerous, 
for the official triumvirate was, as far as possible, to be kept out of 
the proceedings. Pohner was more diplomatic. Frick was frightened 
and plaintive. Hitler defended himself with his usual energy and 
eloquence but, again most undiplomatically, asserted that his three 
betrayers had had the same objectives as himself. The defence at- 
torneys, following this lead, sought to enlighten the court on the 
relationships between the triumvirate and the putschists. Weeks were 
spent "investigating" this problem, all to no effect. Kahr was glum 
and reluctant to answer questions. Lossow denounced Hitler as a 
hysteric and at the end, amid Hitler's closing address, rushed from 
the hall, slamming the door behind him. Both he and Seisser insisted 
that Hitler's claim that they had promised to aid the putsch was 
sheer "fantasy." The court itself had little interest in revealing the 
true facts. 

Hitler's speeches, obviously intended for a wider audience than 
that assembled in the courtroom, were dramatic interludes. With a 
deft tongue he reiterated the old slogans which had proved so effec- 
tive minimizing (prophetically) the economic program of the 
party, saying nothing of national "socialism," but emphasizing his 
patriotism, his anti-Marxism, his supreme confidence in Germany's 
future awakening: 

"The future of Germany means the annihilation of Marxism. 
Either thi&iadal tuberculosis will grow strong, thm rWmnny milll 
die^oritjfldlLi^cut.QUt of the body of the people, then Germany 
will grow strong. . .,. The Marxist question is the basic question of 
theTjerman nation. Since the Marxist movement sets up mere num- 
bers in the place of personality, the mass in the place of [individual] 
energy, it destroys the fundamentals of all human culture. Where 
this movement comes to power, human culture must go to pieces. 
. , . For us Germany will be saved on the day when th^Jast Marxist 


is^conyerted or_destroyeiL_* -. . Our movement was not founded to 
secure seats in parliament and stipends; our movement was founded 

to change destiny for Germany in the eleventh hour One does not 

die for business reasons, but only for the faith of serving the Father- 
land! . . . When anyone believes that he is called to perform a mis- 
sion, he must not permit himself to be influenced, he has the duty of 
doing that which he feels called upon to do. . . . Who is born to be a 
dictator will not be pressed, but must himself press forward. . . . Who 
feels himself called to rule a people has not the right to say: When 
you want me or send for me, I will come. He has the duty to do [what 
is necessary], ... I carry the responsibility all alone. I cannot con- 
cede that I am guilty, but I concede my deed." 

When asked what post in the Third Reich he would take, Hitler 
answered proudly: "I wish to be nothing more than the drummer 
for the Third Reich!" On March 22, in his closing address, Hitler 
declared : 

"What I saw before my eyes, that was from the first day a thou- 
sand times more than merely to become a minister. I wished to be 
the destroyer of Marxism. I shall solve this problem, and when it is 
solved, then the title of minister will be for me only an absurdity. 
. . . Not from arrogance did I wish to be drummer; that is the high- 
est post, the other is a little thing . . . Declare us a thousand times 
guilty, the gods of eternal justice in history will laughingly tear apart 
the pleas of the prosecution and the judgment of the court: for they 
will find us innocent. 

"We encounter punishment because the enterprise failed. The 
deed of November 8 did not fail. It would have failed if a mother 
had come and said: 'Herr Hitler, you have also my child on your 
conscience.' But, I may assure you, no mother has come. On the con- 
trary. Thousands of others have come and placed themselves in our 
ranks. Of the young men who fell, it will some day be said: These, 
too, died for the liberation of the Fatherland.' ... I believe that the 
hour will come when the masses which today stand with our flags 
on the streets will be joined with those who fired on us on November 
9. 1 believe that blood will not always divide us. Some day the hour 
will come when the Rcichswehr will stand on our side, officers and 
men. The army which we have built grows from day to day, from 
hour to hour more rapidly. . . ." 

On April i, 1924, the court handed down its decision. Ludendorff 


was held "notjjuilty" and released. Hitler, Weber, Kriebel, and 
Pohner were fined two hundred marks each (or twenty days im- 
prisonment in lieu thereof), plus five years' imprisonment with a 
recommendation of clemency for good behaviour and considerable 
praise in the sentence for Hitler's war record and his patriotism. The 
time already served was to be deducted from the terms. Frick, Rohm, 
Wagner, Fernet, and Bruckner were sentenced to one year and three 
months. Wagner was at once paroled, and the others were paroled 
within six months. Hitler and Ludendorff were cheered by the 
crowds. On October i, 1924, official steps were taken to secure Hitler's 
release. The state prosecutor objected. The highest Bavarian court 
overruled his objections. On December 20, 1924, he was freed. The 
others were the beneficiaries of a comparable leniency. By New Year's 
Day of 1925 they were all at large once more. 1 

During the interval Hitler and most of his colleagues remained 
in the prison fortress of Landsberg am lech. He had a large sunny 
room and many privileges. In all things the warden showed him 
special consideration, for here was no ordinary criminal, but a great 
patriotic leader of a patriotic cause which who could say? was 
perhaps not yet lost. Every evening Hitler could talk with his fellow 
inmates and friends. A month after his incarceration he was given 
permission to walk two hours a day outside the walls. The Bavarian 
spring was beautiful. But the prisoner of honour was morose and 
dejected. His brave optimistic words now sounded a little hollow. 
He wanted action, drama, artistry, excitement the thrill and glory 
of rescuing his foster-mother Deutschland from her enemies. Instead 
he had got the insufferable boredom of prison routine. For a man 
without literary interests, incapable of enjoyable introspection, de- 
void of all subtlety in thought, and wholly the plaything of powerful 
prejudices and strong emotions, prison life was unendurable even 
among friends. There were devoted followers here, in addition to 
visitors and those sentenced with him. Other Nazi leaders had been 
incarcerated quietly after less spectacular trials. Bruckner was par- 
ticularly solicitous and encouraging. Rudolf Hess idolized him. So 
did young Ekkehard to the point of jealousy of Hess. But Goring 

1 Cf. Karl Brammer: Der Hitler-Ludendorft Prozess (Berlin, 1924); Theodore Heuss: 
Hitler's Weg, pp. 5-15; Tacitus Redivivus: Die Grosse Trommel, pp. 93-101; Ernst 
Ottwalt: Deutschland Erwachel pp. 211-26; Vdlkjschcr Beobachter, March 27, 1934 
and April i, 1934. 


was in exile. Feder was he knew not where. Dietrich Eckart had 
died shortly after the putsch at Obersalzburg, near Berchtesgaden, 
on December 26, 1923. The dream of the Third Reich was a memory 
and a hope. 

"What a man wills, that he hopes and believes." Hitler willed 
ultimate victory, therefore he hoped for ultimate victory and believed 
in it. But again he had encountered frustration. The artist in him 
had been frustrated. The architect had been frustrated. The soldier 
had been ultimately and bitterly frustrated. And now the politician 
was frustrated. Prison life was duller than his old poverty-stricken 
boredom in pre-war Vienna and Munich. That had been duller 
than barrack life. And barrack life had been dull compared to the 
fiery heroism of the trenches. He wanted action and struggle. Victory 
he wanted desperately. He had been cheated of it so often. It was 
self -fulfilment, self-realization, the end of struggle, the only thing 
to give meaning to the world he carried about within him. This world 
was strangely sealed from contact with outer reality. And yet it 
touched intimately the world of other frustrated and wounded spirits 
so intimately that it symbolized a strange, fantastic life of delirium 
and dreams, born of the loneliness of man and the eternal doom of 
human aspiration. This life must be made true or else life had no 
meaning. But the imperative echoed dully against the walls of Lands- 

Whether Hitler devoted much conscious thought to his mistakes 
of political strategy is doubtful. No hint of this appears in the pages 
which he wrote in prison. But these pages deliberately stopped short 
of the Burgerbrau putsch. These mistakes he was never to repeat 
again. The wisdom of experience almost always assumed with him 
the form of feelings and intuitions rather than of generalized prin- 
ciples deduced from observation. After Landsberg he knew intuitively 
that certain things were too dangerous to be attempted and that cer- 
tain other things were unwise. He knew that men of the reaction could 
be useful in crises, but that they would always use him for their own 
purposes and would discard him (or attempt to) when he no longer 
seemed to them useful. They were therefore not to be trusted beyond 
the point where safe retreat was still possible. He knew that his own 
converted party comrades were trustworthy. Only later was he to 
learn that in such a party as he had created this trust, too, could 
easily be misplaced. He knew that in a real test of power, oratory 


and parades were not substitutes for force. And he knew above all 
that such force as he could mobilize could never be adequate to over- 
come the troops and police of the State in open combat. Such combat 
must therefore be avoided at all costs. 

As a soldier he had learned never to risk battle when the enemy's 
superiority is so great as to ensure defeat. As a politician he knew 
now that the same rule applied. Force as pageantry uniforms, flags, 
music, parades was good propaganda, and by propaganda one could 
win thousands and perhaps millions and thus immobilize the forces 
of the State and prevent them from being used against one's cause. 
Force against Marxists (out of public office) was good. But force as 
a weapon with which to attack the State openly was suicide. The 
masses must be won and power must be sought within the law, how- 
ever oppressive the law might be. His democratic parliamentary 
enemies could be trusted always to leave him some field for effective 
action. Legality above all must be the watchword. And if power 
could be conquered by legal means, then the police forces and the 
army of the State would be at one's disposal to use as one saw fit. 
They served the State. One must therefore take the State not by 
storm, but by strategy and treachery and scheming. Having taken the 
State, having become the State, one could then use its forces in one's 
own cause. One would then have force to the utmost at one's dis- 
posal, as well as a claim to universal obedience, instrumentalities of 
propaganda more effective (in the right hands) than all others, and 
jobs, spoils, patronage, favours available for distribution among one's 
followers and friends. 

These elementary lessons of politics sank deeply, albeit sometimes 
unconsciously, into the mind of the would-be dictator. And they 
brought hope and energy and determination. Landsberg, after all, 
was not St. Helena. Landsberg was not even Elba, for with wisdom 
and foresight the battle of the future might as well be Austerlitz as 
Waterloo. Bruckner and Hess kept urging Hitler to write the story 
of his life instead of dawdling morosely with his gloomy thoughts. 
He finally yielded to their suggestions. To produce his autobiography 
at the age of thirty-five did not seem to him conceited or preposterous. 
He threw himself vigorously into the task and made the work at 
once an apologia, a confession of faith, a manual of politics, and a 
promise of future victory. A title? Mein Kampf, of course. My 
Struggle for Deutschland's awakening. He wrote abominablv. but 


no matter. Here was a new form of self-expression, the best to be 
had when all others were lacking and it brought him joy. Hundreds 
of pages poured forth from his pen. Two volumes would be needed 
for such a "life." The second he completed later. Prudence dictated 
that nothing be said about November 1923 and its aftermath. His last 
pages were to close on a more popular note: preparation for the at- 
tack on France; the crime of the Ruhr; "Notwehr als Recht" for the 
last chapter; the restoration of the German fighting spirit and then 
rearmament. "On the day that Marxism is smashed in Germany, 
her chains will in truth be broken for all time." I And, finally, homage 
to the eighteen hero dead who fell before the Feldherrnhalle and 
thanks to Dietrich Eckart. 

Five days before Christmas 1924 Hitler left Landsberg a free man. 
On one of his last days the warden paid him a courtesy call. He was 
most sympathetic even admiring. He finally admitted his conver- 
sion: "Herr Hitler, I also am a Nationalsocialist." 

1 Mcin Kampj, p. 775; cf. Lcngycl: Hitler, pp. 99-107. 






THE party which was to destroy the Republic of Weimar in 1933 
was, a decade earlier, in a state of complete disorganization. Follow- 
ing the Biirgerbrau debacle of November 8 and 9, 1923, the move- 
ment was dissolved, its funds and properties were confiscated, the 
S.A. was suppressed, and the V.B. was forbidden to continue pub- 
lication. Hitler and other party leaders were sentenced to Landsberg 
on April i, 1924. Those leaders who had escaped arrest were in exile 
or in hiding. The NSDAP was apparently dead and its life had 
seemed no more than a somewhat sour comic-opera episode of the 
troubled years between Versailles and the Ruhr. 

This popular impression was temporarily dispelled by the Reichs^; 
ag election of May 4, 1924. During the fourteen months of Hitler's 
imprisonment the party was by no means inactive, despite its "sup- 
pression." Hitler himself apparently playetl no role as a leader during 
this period, though the privileges accorded to him at Landsberg might 
well have given him opportunities for doing so. He occupied himself 
with the writing of M ein Kampj. His representative outside was the 
druggist Gregor Strasser, formerly leader of the S.A. of Lower Ba- 
varia. He too had been arrested in November, 1923, but was released 
in the following April. He busied himself with propaganda and re- 
organization activities. He was a soldier, a fighter, and a socialist 
that is, a Nationalsocialist who took his "socialism" seriously. His 
creed was a melange of nationalism, collectivism, and Kttltur. "So- 
cialism in the old true sense, not in the international false sense, is: 
the spirit of collectivism plus the principle of achievement (Gemein* 
schajtsgeist plus Leistungsprinzip). Socialism is the old officers' 



corps. Socialism is the Cologne Cathedral. Socialism is the wall 
of an old imperial city." * Gregor Strasser was above all devotedly 
loyal to Hitler and did everything in his power to keep the remnants 
of the movement together in Hitler's name. 

This task was no easy one. There was much dissension within the 
ranks, with various leaders striving to unite the party under their 
own authority or endeavouring to take their followers with them 
into other political camps. Hermann Esser and Julius Streicher, the 
Niirnberg leader, sought to repudiate Hitler. Pohner endeavoured 
to lead his supporters back into the ranks of the Nationalist Party, 
and in this he found support from Dr. Buttmann, leader of the Nazis 
in the Bavarian Landtag. The Bavarian People's Party also sought 
to enlist the Nazi rank and file among its own supporters. Luden- 
dorflf was at first indifferent. Kriebel and Rohm went their own way. 
Gregor Strasser, with the aid of Alfred Rosenberg, resisted clerical 
and reactionary blandishments and struggled to keep the Bavarian 
party organization intact. Strasser likewise attempted to extend the 
organization into north Germany. For this purpose he concluded an 
alliance with Herr Albrecht von Graefe of Mecklenburg, leader of 
another reactionary anti-Semitic group, the German Racial Freedom 
Party, which had Count Reventlow and Herr Wiille among its 
champions. It was this combination, under the name of the National 
Socialist German Freedom Movement, which nominated candidates 
for the Reichstag prior to the elections of May 4, 1924. To the astonish- 
ment of everyone, it secured almost two million votes and elected 
thirty-two representatives, including von Graefe, Wiille, Ludendorff, 
Rohm, Frick, Feder, Roth, Dolle, and Fritsch. 

But this unexpected triumph was illusory and shortlived. It 
was due to the powerful appeal which the Nazi propaganda made 
to a middle class and a peasantry still impressed with the effects of 
the Ruhr invasion and of the inflation. The movement might have 
developed had middle-class insecurities continued or had the party 
established an effective central organization. Both of these conditions 
were lacking. The leaders quarrelled in part because of friction 
between the Bavarian Catholic NSDAP and its Protestant Prussian 
allies in the north. By the end of the year, moreover, the Kleinbtir- 
gcrtum felt less disgruntled with the status quo. The Reichstag fac- 

1 Quoted in Edgar Schmidt-Pauli: Die Manner um Hitler (Berlin: Verlag fur Kultur- 
politik; 1932), p. 117- 


tion devoted much energy to denouncing the Allies, the United 
States, and General Dawes. The Reichstag, however, adopted the 
Dawes Plan on August 30, 1924, over the opposition of the Nazi 
group, supported by its bitterest enemies, the Communists, and by 
some of its rivals among the Nationalists. In the Reichstag election 
of December 7, 1924, the party lost over half its supporters. It secured 
only 907,000 votes and retained only fourteen seats in parliament. 1 

Two weeks later Hitler left Landsberg. He was free to resume 
his political activities, save that the Social Democratic government 
of Prussia forbade him to engage in public speaking for three years 
a ban which was a tribute to his oratorical prowess rather than a 
serious obstacle in the way of his efforts to reorganize the party. For 
six weeks he collected funds, conferred with leaders, loyal and dis- 
loyal, rallied his supporters, and prepared for a resumption of active 
work. On February 26, 1925, the Vol^ischer Beobachter resumed 
publication in Munich. It proclaimed the rebirth of the party, the 
revival of the S.A., and the renewal of the struggle against the most 
fearful enemies of the German people: Marxism and Jewry and 
their allies, the Centrum and the Democratic Party. 

On the evening of February 27 Hitler again addressed the multi- 
tude in the first mass meeting of the new era. Again he harangued 
the mob in the Biirgerbrau, where he had so dramatically and hope- 
fully proclaimed the "revolution" fifteen months before. Again huge 
crowds filled the hall long before the meeting was to begin. Herr 
Amann presided and introduced Hitler. Again the Austrian cor- 
poral, in the role of the Messiah, denounced the Allies, the Demo- 
crats, the Jews, and the Marxists. "Marxism can only be destroyed 
through a better idea and through the power of a great popular 
movement. The road to the heart of the people lies not in instruction 
and pleading, but only in ideas and power." The movement has 
nothing to do with religion. It is no sect, but a tool for the attain- 
ment of its single great end : the liberation of the German people. All 
the old Nazis must rally to the cause. Whoever cannot or will not 
come along, let him stay away. But let no one appeal to Hitler. He had 
founded the old party and he alone would dictate its goals and its 
methods. He alone would assume complete responsibility. "The 

1 On the developments of this period, see Ernst Ottwalt: rw/ftffi/jfl/jf fiffflp*^ pp. 
248ff.; Emil Lcngyel: Hitler, pp. io8fL; Rene Laurent: Le National-Socialismc. Vers 
Ic troisieme Reich (Paris: Hachette; 1932), pp. 81-2. 


hour will come in which the NSDAP will conquer. . . ." Butt- 
mann and Esser agreed to dissolve their factions. Streicher, Feder, 
and Frick joined them in swearing fealty to Der Fiihrer. The meet- 
ing was an unqualified success. 1 

But the road to party unity remained steep and stony. Hitler, Ro- 
senberg, and Gregor Strasser worked against heavy obstacles. The 
fourteen Nazi members of the Reichstag were by no means united in 
acknowledging Hitler as leader. The party locals in north Germany 
were Protestant, radical, and genuinely socialistic. Gregor Strasser 
sympathized with their sentiments, though he himself was Catholic. 
His brother Otto was even more extreme. The German Racial Free- 
dom Party was an awkward ally. Hitler decided to support Luden- 
dorff as the party's candidate in the presidential election of March 
29, 1925, but the northern allies supported Jarres, the Nationalist can- 
didate. Ludendorff received fewer than 300,000 votes. In the second 
election of April 26 he withdrew and all reactionary groups, includ- 
ing the NSDAP, supported Hindenburg. Hitler, moreover, found 
it expedient to abandon his anti-clericalism and to "make his peace 
with Rome/' much to the disgust of Count Reventlow. This cleavage 
made the northern alliance increasingly precarious. 

The Weimar party convention (Partei Tag) of June 26, 1925, 
passed off without an open break, with ten thousand men participat- 
ing in the ceremonies. In December 1925 another convention was 
held in Hanover. It was called by the Strasser brothers as an assem- 
bly of all the northern and western Gauleiters to build up a counter- 
weight to the "unsocialist" Munich party leadership. Hitler sent 
Feder as his representative. Feder found the gathering predom- 
inantly anti-Hitler. "We will not be governed by the Munich Pope," 
was the cry. Otto Strasser attacked the rich, preached the socializa- 
tion of wealth, and advocated a kind of anti-democratic, anti-Marx- 
ist Marxism. Feder dissociated Hitler's name from all such "disrup- 
tive" aims. But the meeting voted in favour of the confiscation of 
the property of the princes, a decision which Hitler subsequently 
denounced. Following this meeting, the alliance with the German 
Racial Freedom Party was definitely severed. 

This rift between the "Left" and "Right" wings of the NSDAP 
was to become a permanent one. It was ultimately to lead to conflict, 

1 Cf. "Der entscheidendc Tag" by Wilhelm Frick, V. B. t February 24, 1934. 


revolt, suppression, expulsion, and at last to wholesale murder. The 
anti-Hitler group at the Hanover convention of 1925 represented 
substantially the same elements which were to constitute the Left 
opposition later. Hitler's original tactics of using red posters and 
socialistic slogans, his acceptance of "socialism" (national) and of 
Gottfried Feder's economic doctrines, his attacks upon "capitalism" 
and the "bourgeois" parties were to lead to the acquisition of a great 
mass following. But they were to bear bitter fruit. A movement led 
by demagogues who were all things to all men necessarily became 
a movement of incongruous elements divided against themselves* 
The socialistic radicals in the party, typified by Otto Strasser and to 
some degree by his brother Gregor, could never in the long run ac- 
cept the domination of the party by a conservative leadership in the 
pay of property-owners and industrialists. In this cleavage were the 
germs of dissension and tragedy. 

Hitler's own position was never in doubt. After Landsberg he was 
pledged to "legality." Revolutionary methods of achieving power 
must be eschewed. As for the purposes for which power would be 
used, as for the groups in the community who would be the bene- 
ficiaries of a seizure of power, convenient obscurity must be main- 
tained. Labour and the more radical Kleinburgertum were promised 
socialism. The peasantry was promised an end of "interest slavery" 
and the partition of the great estates. The mass of the Kleinburger- 
tum was promised dissolution of trusts, municipalization of depart- 
ment stores, and economic security. The upper bourgeoisie was 
promised salvation from Marxism and the destruction of trade un- 
ionism. Everybody was promised the elimination of the Jews, the 
rearmament of the Reich, and "national liberation." Such was the 
appeal of this "National," "Socialist," "German," "Labour" party. 
But Hitler knew, not by rational analysis, but by intuition, where 
the fountain-heads of power were to be found. Peasants, burghers, 
and workers could supply only the mass following. Power could be 
won only by converting the elite or by causing it to support the 
movement for its own ends. Power lay with the industrialists, the 
financiers, the feudal military caste, and the aristocracy of money 
the very groups most bitterly assailed by the Marxists and by the 
"socialists" of the NSDAP. In every crisis within the party ranks 
between the socialistic radicals and the conservatives Hitler was to 
side with the latter out of preference, out of conviction, and out of 


long-run considerations of political expediency. Such a movement 
as he had created might win power and rule with the acquiescence 
and support of the ruling classes. It could never gain power and rule 
against them. 

The conservatism of the Munich headquarters triumphed over the 
radicalism of the party locals at the Bamberg conference held in the 
spring of 1926. Gregor Strasser was prepared to expound his theory 
of a truly socialist Nazi State. He brought with him as his aide his 
new secretary, Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels. Hitler's conservative fol- 
lowers, however, had a safe majority. The young Goebbels, who was 
far more astute and intelligent than his employer, took in the situa- 
tion at a glance. He too was a "socialist." But advancement, he per- 
ceived, lay in a different direction. He deserted Strasser and aligned 
himself with Hitler. Munich triumphed over the radical north with- 
out an open break and without a vote. The NSDAP never reached 
decisions by debating and balloting, for these were devices of the 
despised parliamentary system. The party program of twenty-five 
points was declared unalterable on May 22, 1926 and therewith 
was an end to all discussion of whether it should be made more 
"socialistic" or less so. By the time of the great party convention at 
Weimar early in July, unity was restored and the authority of Hitler 
and of the Bavarian conservatives was recognized. The Left wing 
swallowed its fears and suspicions. Hitler at least talked socialism 
and sounded like a radical revolutionary. Perhaps all would yet be 

Hitler's technique for the resolution of inner party conflicts was 
as simple as it was effective. He minimized those issues and proposals 
which created friction, and emphasized those upon which all party 
members were agreed. This involved persistent searching for the 
lowest possible emotional denominators of the incongruous elements 
within the movement. The results of this technique were clearly 
revealed in the great 'Tarty Day" at Niirnberg, August 19-21, 1927. 
Delegates came in special trains from all parts of the Reich, and 
from Danzig, the Saar, Austria, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia 
as well. The headquarters in the Deutscher Hof buzzed with ac- 
tivity. Hitler and his staff had already developed their peculiar skill 
in organizing and conducting great conventions. At eleven o'clock 
Saturday morning, August 20, the delegates assembled in the Kultur- 
vereinshaus, not to deliberate or debate, but to listen to speeches and 


to applaud. Hitler wore a S.A. uniform. Julius Streicher opened the 
meeting by honouring the party dead and by denouncing the Jews. 
He gave praise to his native city for having driven out the Jews 
in the Middle Ages and for having hanged those who refused to 
leave. Gregor Strasser followed with further denunciations of Israel. 
Wilhelm Frick, a Nazi member of the Reichstag, then delivered an 
address on the evils of democracy and the virtues of the Fuhrer- 

"The contemporary democratic parliamentary system means the 
domination of those who are inferior, of those who are of the 
lower races, of money and of the Jews. . . . We Nationalsocialists 
in the Reichstag will hail the day when the well-known lieutenant 
with ten men puts a deserved and dishonoured end (by legal 
means, of course) to this whole devilish sham (Teufelspuf() and 
thereby frees the road for the deed of rescue, for the racial dictator- 
ship " * 

Dr. Buttmann concurred: the aim of the Nazis in the State legis- 
latures was also the destruction of the System. He denounced the 
Dawes Plan and the League of Nations as devices to perpetuate 
German enslavement. Speeches and more speeches. Count Revent- 
low denounced Locarno, Stresemann, and Geneva. The Reich had 
disgraced itself by entering the League. It must withdraw. As for 
General Dawes, he was no "general," but merely the agent of 
Morgan and of Jewish Hochfinanz in New York. Gottfried Feder 
proved to the satisfaction of all that the Treaty of Versailles was the 
source of all of Germany's economic difficulties. Goebbels spoke on 
the art of propaganda: "Propaganda does not need to be rich in 
mental content, but it must be effective." . . . The anti-Semitic 
movement is a half-century old, but it needs a new propaganda 
technique. The party must rest not on intelligence, but on faith. 
Christ wrote no programs, said Goebbels, but preached a new world 
in the Sermon on the Mount: Love your neighbour as yourself. 
Rousseau and Marx wrote books. They remained idle books until 
thousands of agitators preached their gospel. This lesson was appre- 
ciated by the great propagandists of the past and present Bebel, 
Lenin, Mussolini. . . . 2 

1 Alfred Rosenberg: Der RcichsparteUag der N.S.D.A.P. Nurnberg, 79-27 August 
7927 (Munich: Ehcr; 1927), p. 13. 

2 Ibid., pp. sof. 


On Sunday Feder presided. Alfred Rosenberg spoke on "Inter- 
nationaler Weltstaat und nationale Rattmpolitil^" He cited Hans 
Grimm's best seller, VoU{ ohne Raum, and commented: 

"We are not only a people without room, but also in the opposite 
sense: the territory on which sixty-two million German-speaking 
peoples live is a room without a people. To place a people in this 
empty room is the internal political mission of Nationalsocialism; to 
create then the room for the coming hundred million Germans is 
the objective of Nationalsocialist foreign policy. . . ." 

The worst of all crimes was the theft of German territory by the 
victors in the Great War. The world is ruled by internationalism 
and by the hegemony of the Banks and Bourse which began in 
Paris, where the Jews were first emancipated. Down with Rathenau 
and the House of Rothschild! Down with international Jewish 
capitalism! Down with the Strausses and with Bernard Baruch and 
Julius Klein, the Jew dictators of America! The first effective revolt 
against the Jewish international world State was Italian Fascism, 
which destroyed Freemasonry and Bolshevism. But the Jewish In- 
ternational is so powerful that only international action against it 
can be effective. The banks, the press, Freemasonry, Communism, 
the League of Nations, and Zionists are its tools. 

"The Second and Third Internationals were and are only the 
tools of Finance for the destruction of racial defence. . . . Our ob- 
vious duty is to support all anti-Semitic movements in all States. . . . 
On the other hand, we must do everything to create an anti-Semitic 
movement in our own land to fight Jewish domination." 

Down with Einstein and Lessing! Down with France, Poland, 
and the Little Entente! England and Italy must choose. Germany 
must endeavour to create an anti-French coalition. Russia is going 
to pieces. 

"In the Ukraine a conscious nationalist movement is developing 
which we must follow with the closest attention. . . . Germany 
offers France coverage in the west for a free hand in the east. Ger- 
many offers England the protection of India on the Russo-Polish 
frontier (a conception of Bismarck's) and flank coverage against 
France. Germany offers Italy pressure on the south Slavs and cover- 
age against France; the Ukraine, industry and coverage against 
Poland. Das sind raumpolitische biindnisweger * 

1 Ibid., pp. 37-8. 


This powerfully intoxicating infusion evoked an ovation. Hitler 
went up to shake Rosenberg's hand. Then Der Fiihrer himself: 
War is coming. Power and more power are needed. Power consists 
of population (Germany's sixty-two millions are insufficient), terri- 
tory (Germany's lands are pitifully small), and the inner strength of 
a people which rests upon capacity, self-reliance, and race-conscious- 

"If a people of today follows the theory of being able to find happi- 
ness in eternal peace and seeks to live according to this theory, it 
must some day go to ruin from this most primitive variety of cow- 
ardice. Pacifism is the most outspoken cowardice. . . . We have 
come into this political life as soldiers. ... If I wish to bind our 
people together in unity, I must first create a new front which has a 
common enemy before it, so that everyone knows that we must be 
one since this enemy is the enemy of us all. . . , And when anyone 
says: you are imperialists, then ask him: Are you unwilling to be 
one? If not, then never dare to become a father, for if you beget a 
child you must provide its daily bread. And if you provide bread, 
then you are an imperialist! [Stormy applause.]" 1 

Hitler spoke further of honour and of the party's mission. Ger- 
many has no national flag. The party flag must become the national 
flag of the future by being identified with the national awakening. 
In closing, the Leader praised the delegates for paying their own 
fares, buying their own torches, and standing ready for new sacri- 
fices for the cause. The convention resolved to set up a party school 
committee on educational questions; to establish party labour 
unions; to champion the constitutional rights of the Beamtenschajt, 
especially freedom of political opinion and freedom to change 
opinions; to eject all Jews from the Reich; and to establish a Nazi 
news service and a Nazi learned society. The parade and the conse- 
cration of the standards were most impressive. S.A. men, twenty 
thousand strong, marched with flaming torches, accompanied by 
S.S. detachments and a thousand Hitler Jugend. Hitler touched the 
standard of each delegation with. the sacred flag of 1923 and re-pre- 
sented it to its bearer. "Vienna: take this standard as a symbol of 
the indivisibility of our movement until the shame-treaties of Ver- 
sailles and Saint-Germain are broken." "Bochum: bear this standard 
as you have borne the brunt of the struggle against the French in- 

1 Ibid., pp. 42-3. 


vasion." "Essen: I give you this standard as representative of the 
old armoury-city of the German Reich." Etc. Thirty thousand men 
marched by to receive the salute of Der Fiihrcr. Here once more 
was pageantry and power and the promise of greater glory to 


THE Hitler of this period was by all odds the most unusual and 
extraordinary party leader in the Reich. He was still an alien 
Austrian and took no steps to acquire German citizenship. He could 
not therefore become a candidate for any public office. He was not 
interested in offices not yet. He was a German neither in nation- 
ality nor in appearance nor in temperament nor in his mode of life. 
He had, to be sure, been a soldier; he liked dogs and Wagnerian 
music; and he was not averse to patting children on the head and 
beaming benignly at the populace. But in his posturing he accen- 
tuated precisely his un-German characteristics, for these strange 
traits somehow fascinated multitudes and contributed to the illusion 
of the Heaven-sent saviour of the Reich. He was thin, intense, fa- 
natical. The German burghers to whom he appealed were, most of 
fhem, fat, stolid, phlegmatic. TWanc* /if^j5|h^dn/fr|fj^t r /^^V | h r 
eschewed alcohol and drank^qnly mineral water. His Germans were 
prodigious drinkers and consumed beer in amazing quantities. He 
avoided meat and professed himself a j/egctaiion* His Germans 
consumed mountains of sausages and Saucrbraten and Wiener- 
schnitzel. He lived like an ascetic or seemed to. His Germans were 
gourmands and addicted to the pleasures of the flesh. He avoided 
sports and popular recreation. His Germans preached and practised 
body culture and loved wine, women, and song nowhere more so 
than in Bavaria. He was a bachelor and shunned women like the 
plague. His Germans were fathers and Hausfraus with many chil- 
dren. He was crude, ungrammatical, and contemptuous of intellect. 
His Germans were cultured and deferential toward Ph.D.'s and 

Here was the man who was to win the almost mystical adoration 
of the Kleinburgertum and the peasantry. For he seemed the em- 
bodiment of those virtues to which millions of Germans aspired 
and to which few could attain: sobriety, chastity, asceticism, self- 


denial. Economic privation forbade self-indulgence, and resentment 
at this imposed self-denial was appropriately rationalized: flesh-pots 
(symbolized by profiteers, Jews, and the Marxian "materialists") 
were evil; sacrifice and flagellation were good. But the German 
bourgeoisie, having lived too long on the flesh-pots, could not em- 
brace asceticism openly. It must enjoy self-denial vicariously. In 
Hitler it could indulge its asceticism to its heart's content. 

Such was the saviour. His private life was a mystery, save to a few 
intimates. After the movement waxed strong and profitable, he 
lived comfortably in a nine-room house on Prinzregentenstrasse, 
Munich, with a married couple: his butler and his cook. He had 
three cars and often spent week-ends in his Landhaus on Starn- 
bergersee, in the Bavarian Alps. He received visitors graciously in 
elegant and tasteful rooms. Before his aides and subordinates he 
posed and often raged and shouted to inspire respect and fear and 
to galvanize his followers with his own dynamism. But the public 
saw only a smallish man with a lumpy, pasty face, a peasant head 
compounded of Teuton and Slav, heavy straight black hair falling 
boyishly over an unintellectual brow, an absurd smudge of Chaplin 
moustache beneath a thick, sharp nose, a sensitive mouth, an ag- 
gressive jaw bespeaking stubbornness and energy. At meetings and 
demonstrations he wore the S.A. brown-shirt uniform or, more 
frequently, the inconspicuous democratic garb of a drummer: soft 
fedora hat, black tie, white shirt, dark suit, and the inevitable tan 

When he spoke from the platform, he shouted and pleaded with 
his artist's hands and often brushed his forelock carelessly back from 
his perspiring brow. Fire glowed in soft mystic eyes that were other- 
wise dull and lifeless. The magic of his oratory baffled foreigners. 
Here was no subtlety, no brilliance, only a hoarse staccato of well- 
worn phrases, rising to screaming crcsccndos of passion. Here was 
an unpolished voice reiterating over and over again, with humour- 
less gravity and terrible earnestness, what its audiences wanted to 
hear. But for Germans here was salvation. The importance of the 
message was judged not by its content, but by the emotionalism of its 
delivery. Shouting was confused with wisdom; delirium with sin- 
cerity; cloudy obscurities, shot through with Wagnerian thunder, 
with insight and inspiration. . . . x 

1 Cf. Walter Oehmc and Kurt Caro, Kommt "Das Dritte Reich"? (Berlin: Rowohlt; 
1930. PP- 105-9- 


The men around Der Fiihrer were as interesting and variegated 
a lot as had gathered around him in 1921-3. Some of the old stalwarts 
were again to be found in the party headquarters in Munich. Some 
new figures were there, later destined to enjoy power. Rudolf Hess 
was again Hitler's secretary and adjutant. After the putsch he had 
lived for six months in the mountains, evading the police. He was 
caught in 1924, arrested, and sent to Landsbcrg. After his release 
he became an assistant in the Deutsche Akademic through his friend- 
ship with Karl Haushofer, Professor of Geopolitik in the University 
of Munich. In the spring of 1925 he became Hitler's personal secre- 
tary and held this post for many years thereafter. 1 

Rohm had been arrested in November 1923 and put in Stadelheim 
Prison, where Dietrich Eckart was slowly dying. He, too, was soon 
released. In the election of May 1924 he was elected to the Reichstag 
as a Nazi representative. Later he founded another private military 
organization, the Frontbann, subsequently merged with the S.A. 
His loyalties were divided when Ludendorfl and Hitler parted 
ways. He gave up his commissions in the S.A. and the Frontbann 
and returned to civil life. In 1928 he became military adviser of the 
Bolivian government in its perennial war with Paraguay. In October 
of 1930 Hitler called him back from South America to assume leader- 
ship of the S.A. He then became Chief of Staff and supreme com- 
mander of the storm troops immediately under Hitler. 

Goring, wounded on November 9, had fled to Austria with his wife 
and thence to Italy, where he recovered his health. He spent several 
years in Italy and in Sweden. In 1925 he was again in Stockholm, 
working for an aircraft company. His frail wife was now afflicted 
with tuberculosis. The Swedish courts refused the couple control of 
the boy, Thomas Kantzow (his wife's son by her first husband), on 
the ground of the mother's epilepsy and the stepfather's addiction to 
morphia. On September i, 1925, he was admitted to the Langbro 
Asylum for treatment, since his narcotic habits had rendered him 
unbalanced and irresponsible. 2 He recovered ultimately and resumed 

1 Edgar Schmiclt-Pauli: Die Manner urn Hitler, pp. 99-104. 

2 On page 133 of The Brown Boo/t of the Hitler Terror, by the World Committee 
for the Victims of German Fascism (New York: Knopf; 1933), appear photographic 
facsimiles of Go ring's registration card in the asylum and of Dr. A. R. Lund berg's 
statement as to the unfitncss of the Gorings to care for Thomas Kantzow. So far as 
the author has been able to determine, the authenticity of these documents has never 
been successfully disputed. 


work. Under the amnesty of 1926 the former war-ace was able to 
return to Germany, where he resumed contact with Hitler and was 
elected to the Reichstag on the Nazi ticket in 1928. He became a 
member of the Reichsleitung of the party in 1930 and was re-elected 
to the Reichstag. In the spring of 1931 he visited Italy as a represent- 
ative of the NSDAP and was received by Mussolini and also at 
the Vatican. 

Goring's wife died in Stockholm, October 17, 1931. His bitterness 
at her death increased rather than diminished his restless energy 
and ambition. The one-time handsome aviator was corpulent now 
a great, rotund man with a ruddy face, thin lips, and steely eyes. 
His "Pritnfaucht" or passion for splendour and display, waxed with 
his vanity and his ambition. He lived in luxury and consorted with 
the Crown Prince and Fritz Thyssen. Exotic costumes and uniforms 
were his delight. He surrounded himself with ostentatious elegance, 
with ancient arms, with portraits of his heroes: Napoleon, Frederick 
the Great, Bismarck, and Mussolini even of Balbo and Baron von 
Richthofen, though these were Jews. He was not a man to appeal 
to the multitude. But he was wealthy, polished, and aristocratic. And 
he was energetic, ruthless, and hard a good organizer and a man 
capable of brutality, fit to execute daring and unscrupulous schemes. 
For this Hitler valued him. 1 

Alfred Rosenberg likewise resumed his old connection with the 
party. This Russian emigre had escaped arrest in the Munich putsch 
and later returned to the Reich to engage in journalism and other 
literary activities. He resumed his editorship of the V.B. and poured 
forth an endless stream of pamphlets and bool>s, which became an 
important part of the literature of the movement: The Protocols of 
the ILlders of Zion and Jewish World Policy (1923), Bourse and 
Marxism The Lord and the Slave (1924), International High 
Finance as the Ruler of the Labour Movement in All Countries 
(1925), Dietrich Ecfyart (1927), The Future Road of German For- 
eign Policy (1927), Houston Stewart Chamberlain as the Prophet 
and Founder of a German Future (1927), The World Conspirator^ 
Congress at Basel (1927), Thirty November Heads (1927), Free- 
masonic World Policy in the Light of Critical Research (1929), The 
Swamp A Sketch of the "Intellectual" Life of the November De- 
mocracy (1930), etc., etc. His most erudite and ambitious work, 

1 Schmidt-Pauli, op. cit., 86-91. 


almost seven hundred pages in length, was published in 1930 under 
the title of The Myth of the Twentieth Century An Evaluation of 
the Spiritual-Intellectual Value Conflict of Our Time (Munich: 
Hoheneichen). In 1930 Rosenberg was elected to the Reichstag. As 
a member of the Reichsleitung of the NSDAP, he represented the 
party on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Reichstag. In April 
1931 he became chief 'editor of the N.S. Monatshefte. In December 
1931 he was sent to London on a special political mission. Not only 
was he the chief writer and official philosopher of the movement, 
but he became its foreign-policy expert and was later made head of 
the Aussenpolitische Amt tier NSDAP, the Foreign-Policy Bureau 
of the party. It was he who said on one occasion that when Hitler 
gained power every telegraph pole between Munich and Berlin 
would be decorated with the head of a prominent Jew. 1 
Among the most interesting and valuable of the new recruits was 
ocEEcI^ This master propagandist was born on 

October 29, 1897, in the town of Rheydt in the Rhincland, near 
Diisseldorf. He was afflicted with a club-foot from birth. This, 
coupled with his extraordinarily Semitic features and a Jewish sharp- 
ness of tongue and mind, has at various times caused his enemies 
to whisper dark hints about his ancestry the more so as the Nazi 
doctrine of race holds that hereditary physical defects arc due to 
"blood-mixture." These allegations, however, would appear to be 
unfounded. His father, Fritz, was the son of Catholic peasant parents 
and was himself a farmer and the manager of a small business enter- 
prise. His mother, Maria Oldenhausen, was the daughter of a black- 
smith. Her mother had been the daughter of a labourer. The mother 
of the widow whom Paul Joseph was to marry, however, had herself 
married a Jew as her second husband and after his death continued 
to bear his name until she saw the light and reverted to her first 
husband's name. 2 Paul began his studies in the Catholic Voll^schule 
at Rheydt and then went to the Gymnasium. He was seventeen when 
the war broke out, but his infirmity made military service impossible. 
Aided by Catholic scholarships, he spent his next seven years study- 
ing history, literature, philology, and art in various universities: 
Bonn, Freiburg, Wiirzburg, Munich, Cologne, Berlin. In 1921 he 

1 Schmidt-Pauli, op. cit., pp. 170-6, and Kurt Rostcn: Das ABC dcs National sozidl- 
ismus (Berlin: Schmidt; 1933), pp. 273-5. 

2 Cf. Rene Laurent: Le National-Socialisme, p. 121, and Rostcn, op. cit., p. 263. 


took his Ph. D. at Heidelberg, where he was much influenced by 
Professor Friedrich Gundolf, a liberal Jewish Shaksperian scholar. 

Goebbels apparently learned of the NSDAP for the first time in 
Munich in 1922, when he attended one of its meetings. He was 
active in student politics, but did not then join the Nazi movement. 
He had literary ambitions and wrote poetry and plays, most of them 
bad. His efforts to get his drama Der Wanderer accepted by the 
Frankfurt Theatre in January 1924 were unsuccessful, though three 
years later it was played at the Nazi Volksbiihne in Berlin. During 
the French occupation of the Ruhr he was active in organizing re- 
sistance and, under a pseudonym, even seems to have created Nazi 
units. On one occasion he alleged that he was whipped in a Belgian 
prison. It was in 1924 that he joined the party. He became editor of 
the Vdlfysche Frciheit in Elberfeld and served as journalist, or- 
ganizer, and agitator in the Ruhr. In collaboration with Gregor 
Strasser, he issued the N.S. Briefe in 1925, emphasizing the truly 
socialist character of the NSDAP. In the same year he became 
Geschaftsfuhrer of the Gait Rhein-Ruhr. 

Goebbels first won the attention of Hitler in 1926 when he de- 
serted Strasser to support the Leader and the conservative wing of 
the party. His genius as propagandist and organizer, along with his 
reputation for radicalism, made him an ideal party leader for "Red 
Berlin," and he was named Gauleiter for the capital in October 
1926, and later for the whole province of Brandenburg. Here he 
founded Der An griff (The Attack), first as a bi-weekly, then as a 
daily paper. Under his direction it became the cleverest and most 
bitterly vitriolic of the Nazi propaganda sheets. He was extraor- 
dinarily skilful at invective against liberals, democrats, Marxists, 
Jews, and his competitors, the papers of the "Gutter Press" (Asphalt- 
presse). He was elected to the Reichstag in 1928 and again in 1930. 
In 1929 he became Reich Propaganda Leader of the NSDAP. It 
was he who preached Nazi "socialism," organized the first Nazi 
shop-cells in 1931, and won part of the proletariat as well as the 
Klcinbilrgertum of the capital to the cause. 1 

This small, subtle young man became the "brains" of the Nazi 
movement and entered the circle of Goring, Rohm, Rosenberg, Hess, 
and Frick immediately around Der Fiihrer. Here was another 
twisted personality afflicted with terrific emotional overcompensa- 
1 Schmidt-Pauli, op. cit., pp. 152-7; Ochme and Caro, op. cit., pp. 109-17. 


tions for his physical infirmity and thereby driven furiously to action 
by boundless conceit and ambition. A flat brow with straight black 
hair brushed back and flanked by pointed, protruding ears. Piercing 
dark eyes in an angular, cadaverous face, deeply lined about the 
large, mobile mouth. Diminutive, emaciated, almost insignificant 
as he limped into meetings completely surrounded by S.A. or S.S. 
body-guards. But on the platform he was a wizard of demagoguery, 
with his resonant, penetrating voice, his keen, cynical intelligence, 
his satire and irony, his utter unscrupulousness in attack, and his 
restless hands with their fascinatingly delicate yet powerful gestures. 
In personal contact he was affable, smiling, almost shy. "Der Junge 
ist richtig," the older party men were obliged to concede repeatedly. 
In Der Angriff he seethed volcanically and heaped scorn upon the 
System and all its works. He also wrote effective pamphlets full of 
catch-phrases: Das Kleine ABC dcs Nationalsozialisten (Grief s- 
wald, 1925), Die zweite Revolution (Zwickau, 1926), Der Nazi- 
Sozi (Munich, 1931), Mjolnir Die verfluchten Ha^enfyeuzler 
(Munich, 1932), Kampf um Berlin, Lenin oder Hitler, etc. 

Such were the aides of Der Fiihrer. Between these men there 
was seldom harmony. Hitler had not grown up in vain in the Habs- 
burg empire. Divide et impera was his motto within his own party, 
as within the Reich. By a nice balancing of conflicting ambitions and 
animosities he retained his own undisputed leadership. Amann and 
Rosenberg often quarrelled, as did Buttmann and Streicher. Goring 
detested the crippled intellectual, Goebbels. Goebbels scorned the 
grossness and crudity of Goring and Rohm. The Strasser brothers 
fell out and the radical Otto, after his expulsion from the party in 
1930, accused Gregor of remaining in the ranks only because of his 
financial dependence on the party. After Bamberg, Gregor Strasser 
and Goebbels were enemies and called one another "Judenstamm- 
linge." Between Rosenberg, Frick, Goring, and Goebbels no love 
was ever lost. These enmities among ambitious conspirators con- 
tained the germs of potential disintegration in so far as the leaders 
came to represent important rival groups within the party member- 
ship. But Hitler succeeded, with few exceptions, in holding the fac- 
tions together during all the years of struggle and in welding them 
into a remarkably effective instrument for the conquest of the masses 
and the seizure of power. 



THE history of the Nazi party cannot be written until the volu- 
minous records in the party archives are made available to scholars. 
This time is not yet in sight. Meanwhile reliance must be placed on 
such party materials as have been published, on newspaper and 
periodical sources, and on the circumstantial evidence of the course 
of events. The bulk of the literature published in Germany on the 
development of the party has been written as propaganda, either in 
praise of the movement or (prior to January 1933) in condemnation 
of it. Numerous phases of the party organization, to say nothing of 
the private lives of the leaders and their relationships with influential 
personalities of the German ruling classes, can be discussed only on 
the basis of conjecture. These difficulties always beset every effort in 
describing a revolutionary party. They are multiplied manyfold in 
the present instance by the circumstance that the NSDAP has been 
obliged, to a peculiar degree, to parade illusions before the German 
electorate and the world which are substantially at variance with 
the carefully concealed realities. Nevertheless, enough is known to 
make possible an analysis not merely of these illusions, but also to 
some extent of the stuff of which the dreams were made and of the 
dream-making machinery itself. 

The dynamics of the party's growth may first be suggested in 
general terms. A political party aspiring to control the State or to 
become the State has at its disposal three fundamental techniques 
of power, which are not different in kind but only in degree from 
the techniques used by all States and by all ruling classes to evoke 
mass deference and obedience. These may be roughly characterized 
as force, propaganda, and the distribution of patronage and favours. 
Through the use of these techniques in various combinations, fol- 
lowers are won, supporters are unified, enemies are broken, sub- 
mission is obtained and a pattern of interrelationships is woven 
whereby power can be acquired, wielded, and preserved. A party 
in control of the State (that is, able to utilize the law-making and 
executive agencies of government for its own purposes, able to 
identify itself with the symbols of the State and thereby evoke the 
deference responses which these symbols elicit, able in a revolution- 
ary situation to wipe out all competitors for popular favour) has 


violence, propaganda, and spoils at its disposal in infinitely greater 
quantity than has a party out of power. The NSDAP prior to 1933 
was out of power and in the opposition. Before 1930 it had no op- 
portunities, except on a small scale, to participate even in state or 
local government anywhere in Germany. Force and spoils were 
therefore available as instruments of growth and party discipline 
only to a slight extent. The armed forces of the State were in the 
hands of the enemy. Public posts and opportunities for winning, 
cajoling, or coercing various groups in the electorate through legis- 
lative and administrative measures were likewise not available. 

Propaganda that is, the systematic inculcation of emotional re- 
sponses to collective symbols had consequently to be the main 
reliance of the movement, both in gaining new converts and in 
keeping those already won. Violence, to be sure, could be used 
within narrow limits against dissidents and against political enemies 
and competitors outside of the ranks. But the exercise of this tool 
of power was sporadic and unsystematized prior to 1930. This was 
necessarily so in a party committed to "legality." As for spoils and 
patronage, there were hopes and promises of places on public pay- 
rolls, rather than actual posts available for distribution. But the 
party hierarchy itself, as it waxed large and prosperous, offered pelf 
and power to those favoured by Der Fiihrer. Party speakers, editors 
of papers and periodicals, managers, organizers, and agitators were 
paid handsome stipends out of the party treasury. Prominent orators 
and journalists like Goebbcls often got as much as 1,200 marks per 
month, the numerous secretaries in the central headquarters 400 
marks, and subordinate clerks, organizers, messengers, etc., 150 to 
300 marks monthly. The Reichsleitung of the party displayed great 
skill in distributing such jobs and used its power to enlarge and 
consolidate an extraordinarily effective political organization, paral- 
leled (but not outmatched) only by the party machine of Social 
Democracy. But the organization itself was primarily a vast propa- 
ganda bureau. Even its militia, the S.A. and the S.S., were more 
effective as propaganda devices and as organization providing hon- 
ours, titles, and incomes to deserving Nazis than as actual instru- 
ments of coercion. 

Since available documentary records do not permit a detailed 
motion picture of the development of the party machine through its 
various phases, a static portrait of the organization as it had been 


perfected up to the 1930-3 period must suffice. The central agencies 
of the party were, in form, agencies of the N.S.D.A. Verein, estab- 
lished June 22, 1926, with its seat in Munich. But since the Verein 
was identical in leadership and organization with the NSDAP, this 
distinction had no practical significance. In the central Munich head- 
quarters Hitler's frustrated ambitions as an architect found expres- 
sion in the construction of an elaborate building, the famous Braun- 
haus at 45 Brienner Strasse, opposite the residence of Papal Nuncio. 
Completed at a cost of three-quarters of a million marks and paid 
for by a special assessment on the membership, this structure was a 
veritable palace. It was opened on July 5, 1930. In style it was simple, 
pleasing, and richly though tastefully decorated. Its square front, 
set back from the walk, faces on narrow fenced gardens and is broken 
by the main entrance in the centre, always guarded by uniformed 
S.A. men. Beyond the entrance is a large hall resembling a magnifi- 
cent hotel lobby, with polished floors, swastika decorations on the 
ceiling, and a reception bureau to one side. Amid much coming and 
going of party officials and emissaries, there is always an atmosphere 
of order and military discipline. A wide staircase leads to the first 
floor (second floor by American reckoning). Here Hitler and his 
adjutant Hess have large suites of offices. In Hitler's simple study 
is a portrait of Frederick the Great and a bust of Mussolini. Near by 
is the Senatorensaal, which is the central unit of the whole structure. 
Before the door arc two party standards surmounted by bronze eagles 
and two memorial tablets for the fallen heroes of the movement, 
decorated with large gilded evergreen wreaths. The Saal is deco- 
rated in red, with forty-two red leather chairs facing another row 
of chairs for the leaders. The upper floors contain other offices always 
humming with activity. Over the roof floats the Hal^eniyeuz flag. 
In the rear is a garden, and in the basement a wood-panelled restau- 
rant and elaborate personnel records of the party membership. 

The structure of the central party organization, most of the di- 
rectors of which have offices in the Braunhaus, can best be suggested 
by the following outline, as of 1931-2. 


A. Party and Highest S.A. Leader, President of the Nationalsocialist 
German Labor Society (Partei-und-oberster S.A. Ftihrer, Vor- 
sitzender der NSDAV)Adolt Hitler 


B. Personal Adjutants Rudolf Hess and Wilhelm Bruckner 

C. Private Secretariat Rudolf Hess and Albert Bormann 

D. Chief of Staff Ernst Rohm 

Reich Youth Leader (Reichsjugendftihrer) Baldur von Schirach 

E. Reich Treasurer (Reichschatzmeister) and President of the Finance 

Committee Franz Schwarz 
Staff Director Dr. Hans Stoch 

1. Director of Central Bookkeeping (Letter der Hauptbuch- 

haltung) Fritz Haas 

2. Director of the Review Division (Letter der Revisions- 

abteilung) Hans Gaupert 

3. Central Audit (Reichsrevisoren) Committee of Four 


4. Director of the Aid Fund (Letter der Hilfsfosse) Martin 


5. Director of the Reich Armoury (Letter der Reichszcug- 

meisterei} Richard Bikhner 

6. House Inspector Wilhelm Roeder 

F. Reich Business Manager (Reichsgeschiiftsjuhrer} Philipp 


Staff Director Victor Brack 

G. Secretary Karl Fiehler 

PRESIDIUM OF THE NSDAV: Hitler, Schwarz, and Fiehler 

plus all of the major officers 
above and the Amstleiter be- 

Reich Organization Leader I Gregor Strasser 
Deputy Paul Schulze 
Adjutant Rudolf Vollmuth 

A. Foreign Division (Auslandsabteilung) 

Division Leader Hans Nieland 

B. Reich Press Office (Reichspressestelle) 

Division Leader Otto Dietrich 

C. Reich Shop-Cell Division (Reichsbetriebszellenabteilung) 

Division Leader Walter Schuhmann 

Reich Organization Leader II Constantin Hierl 
Deputy Paul Schulze 
Adjutant Capt. Dressier 


A. Agrarian Division (Abteilung Landwirtschaji) Division Leader 

Walter Darre 

B. Economic Policy Division (Wirtschajtspolitische Abt.) 

Division Leader Dr. Wagener 
Public Economy Gottfried Feder 
Private Economy Walter Funk 

C. Race and Culture Division (Abt. Rasse und Kultur) 

Division Leader R. Konopath 

D. Internal Political Division (Inner politische Abt.) 

Division Leader Dr. Nicolai 

E. Legal Division (Rechtsabteilung) 

Division Leader Dr. Hans Frank 
Deputy Dr. Ludwig Fischer 

F. Engineering-Technical Division (Jngenieur-Technische Abt.) 

Division Leader Gottfried Feder 

G. Labour Service Division (Abt. Fur Arbeitsdienstpflichi) 

Division Leader Paul Schulze 


President of the Propaganda Committee Paul Joseph Goebbels 
Deputy Heinz Franke 

Fritz Reinhardt 

Paul Schulze 

Robert Ley 

(Untersuchung-und-Schlichtungsausschuss or USCHLA) 

President Walter Buch 

Deputy Wilhelm Holzschuher 

President of the First Chamber Walter Buch 

President of the Second Chamber 

President of the Third Chamber Wilhelm Grimm 

President Ernst Rohm 


(Amtsleiter jur die Presse) 

Max Amann 




Publications Director Max Amann 


Leader Captain Locper 1 

This scheme of organization was characterized by great fluidity 
and adaptability. Not only were individuals shifted from post to post 
as expediency dictated, but the number and arrangement of divi- 
sions were varied considerably with the needs of the hour, depending 
upon personal considerations, the orders of Der Fiihrer, the resolu- 
tions of party conventions, and the like. Two outstanding party 
leaders had no official posts in the central offices and therefore do not 
appear in the table: Alfred Rosenberg and Hermann Goring. Both, 
however, were members of the Reichsleitung after 1930. The mem- 
bership of this directorate has varied appreciably from time to time 
with the shifts in the relationships between Hitler and his chief aides. 

The functions of most of the officials are suggested by their titles. 
As for the rest, the Aide Fund or Hiljsl^assc was a system of paying 
compensation to party members (or to their heirs) who were injured 
or killed in party service. After 1930, as the "conquest of the streets" 
proceeded apace and led to frequent street brawls with Communists 
and other enemies, this arrangement assumed the proportions of a 
vast contributory insurance organization. Between January i and 
July 31, 1932, the Hilfsf^asse considered no less than 8,300 cases in- 
volving personal "accidents," damages to motor vehicles and musical 
instruments, claims for damages to meeting-halls, etc. 2 The party 
"Armoury" (Rcichszeugmeisterei) not only dispensed weapons but 
sold uniforms, arm-bands, emblems, flags, standards, etc., to the 
party members and the party locals through its eleven local branches. 3 
The Reich Shop-Cell Division represented the Nationalsocialist 

1 Nationatsozialistischcs Jahrbuch, 1933 (Munich: Ehcr; 1932), pp. 134-6. Cf. Kdgar 
Schmidt-Pauli: Die Manner urn Hitler, pp. 56-8; Rene Laurent, Lc National -Social- 
isme, pp. 132-6. The above outline is only one of several possible ways of presenting 
the interrelationships between the various central party agencies. The Arabic numerals 
and letters attached to the various divisions arc not official party designations, but 
are employed here for clear schcmatization. 

2 Nazi Jahrbuch, 1932, pp. 160-79; ibid., 1933, pp. 163-76. 

3 Ibid., 1933, p. 162. 


Shop-Cell Organization (Nationalsocialistische Betriebszellen Or- 
ganisation or NSBO), which was designed to enlist wage-earners in 
Nazi trade unions or to penetrate the existing trade-union organiza- 
tion. The Legal Division furnished legal aid to party members 
arrested in the course of party work. The Labor Service Division 
dealt with the party's plans for instituting compulsory labour serv- 
ice. The famous USCHLA was the disciplinary agency of the party. 
Its local representatives investigated complaints against party mem- 
bers, settled disputes, and recommended the expulsion of disloyal 

The largest unit in the local organization of the party member- 
ship was the "Gau" or district. The number of districts expanded 
with the growth of membership until by 1928 the Reich was divided 
into thirty-four Gaue, corresponding roughly in extent with the 
Reichstag electoral districts and each headed by a Gauleiter. There 
were also seven Gaue in Austria, one in Danzig, one in the Saar, 
and several in Czechoslovakia. The Gauleiters were appointed and 
removed by Hitler and, after the reorganization of 1932, worked 
under the direction of ten Landesinspecteure t nine in Germany and 
one in Austria. Each inspector was charged with the responsibility 
for carrying out party policy within the Gaue under his direction 
and with supervising the work of party representatives in state and 
provincial legislatures. 1 These officials, controlled by the central 
officers of the Reich inspection, constituted the liaison between the 
Reichsleitung and the Gaue. Each Gau was divided into a number 
of Kreise or "Circles," each headed by a Kreisleiter named by the 
Gauleiter. Each Kreis consisted of varying numbers of Ortsgruppen 
or Local Groups. These groups were headed by Ortsgruppenleiter, 
appointed by the Gauleiter, on the nomination of the Kreisleiter. 
Each was designed to be small enough so that its leader could be 
personally acquainted with all the members. 

With the growth of party membership, the number of Ortsgruppen 
and Kreise increased within the framework of the Gaue. The 
Ortsgruppen were the smallest units in rural areas, but were subdi- 
vided in large metropolitan centres into Street-Cells and Blocks (Zel- 
len und Bloc fa). The Berlin Gait was divided into twenty geograph- 
ical sections, comparable to the Ortsgruppen elsewhere. Each section 

iEngclbert Hubcr: Das 1st Nationahozialismus (Berlin: Union Deutsche Vcrlagsgc- 
scllschaft; 1933), p. 39. 


was divided into Street-Cells of not more than five men each. The 
head of each Street-Cell, the Obmann, was appointed by his section 
chief, who was in turn named by the Gauleiter, Goebbels. After the 
summer of 1930 the Berlin Gaubilro occupied a large suite of rooms 
on the fourth floor of a house on Hedemannstrasse, which, ironically, 
had been used during the war to house various economic organiza- 
tions headed by Walter Rathenau. From the former office of the 
murdered Foreign Minister, Goebbels directed the work of the party 
in the capital. 1 

As for the rank and file of the party members, accurate informa- 
tion regarding vocation, class and sex composition, economic status, 
recruitment, training, discipline, promotion, and expulsion is un- 
available so long as the party records and archives remain closed to 
inspection. Members were ordinarily welcomed without too careful 
scrutiny, provided that they were Germans and "Aryans" (non- 
Jews), not members of Masonic lodges or similar secret societies, and 
willing to pay an initiation fee of one mark and minimum monthly 
dues of fifty pfennige, later raised to one mark. They were also ex- 
pected whenever possible to make a single substantial contribution 
and to make additional monthly payments of optional amount. From 
time to time, as the membership expanded, national or local limita- 
tions of size were imposed and undesirable elements were eliminated 
by periodical "cleansings." On several occasions Hitler intimated 
that the maximum membership would be limited to one million, but 
this figure was greatly exceeded in 1932. The growth of membership, 
as shown by the number of dues-paying members at the end of each 
year, was as follows: 















1 Huber, op. cit., pp. 35-42; Nazi Jahrbuch, 1933, pp. 136-42; Walter Oehmc and 
Kurt Caro, Kommt "Das Drittc Reich"? (Berlin: Rowohlt; 19*1), pp. 17-19; for 
charts, tables, and coloured reproductions of the uniforms and insignia of the S.A., 
S.S., Stahlhclm, etc., sec Die Uniformcn ttnd Abzeichcn, Fahncn, Standartcn tind 
W impel dcr S A, SS, II], ttsw. (Berlin: Kolk; 1933). 


January 1932 920,000 
June 1932 1,200,000 

Closely related to and yet distinct from the party membership 
proper were the members of the Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaj- 
feL The brown-uniformed S.A. men or storm troopers were from 
the beginning organized on strictly military lines, copied even in 
detail from the Reichswehr. Since the membership of the S.A. has 
remained a carefully guarded secret, estimates of its size at various 
periods differ widely. By the close of 1931 it was generally believed 
that the storm troopers numbered almost half a million or approxi- 
mately half the size of the party membership. Since all S.A. men were 
required to be party members prior to 1933, this meant that one out 
of every two party members joined the S.A. and was thereby entitled 
to wear the brown uniform, with decorations appropriate to rank. 
Party members who were not storm troopers could wear only the 
party button, or at most a brown shirt. S.A. men who were employed 
paid special dues in addition to the party dues, and likewise paid 
for their own uniforms and equipment, while unemployed members 
(perhaps one-third of the total) received these things gratis, plus a 
small daily stipend not exceeding two marks. Unmarried storm 
troopers sometimes lived in small barracks housing twenty or thirty 
men each. In 19^12 the "Brown Army" was divided into six major 
groupings, each corresponding to an army corps and commanded 
by an Osaf (Qber S.A. Fiihrer). Each of these Obergruppen was 
divided into Gruppen, and each of these into a number of Gau- 
sttirme or brigades. Each Gattsturm consisted of three "Standards" 
or regiments. Each standard was composed of five Stttrmbanne or 
battalions. Each battalion consisted of six to ten Stttrme or Com- 
panies. Each company was composed of two or three Truppe or sec- 
tions, and each Trupp of five or six Scharen or squads. This army 
possessed small weapons and had motor-car and motor-cycle corps 
at its disposal, as well as an aviation corps, the existence of which was 
suspected after 1930 and admitted early in 1932. In addition to the 
N.S. Motorstitrm, the NJS. Fliegersturm, and the Gasschutz (Gas 
Defence) organization, the S.A. also possessed a "reserve" consisting 
of men over forty. In discipline, organization, and morale the S.A. 
was a military force. It was designed, however, not to fight foreign 
foes nor yet the police or the Reichswehr, but to combat other parties, 


especially the Communists, in mass demonstrations and street brawls. 
It likewise possessed an obvious value as a propaganda instrument 
to impress and terrorize the electorate and to afford honours, excite- 
ment, and glory to the party members. 

The "General Staff' of the S.A. was almost as elaborately organized 
as the central headquarters -of the party itself. Hitler was Oberosaj. 
Rohm was Chief of Staff and was assisted by an adjutant, a quarter- 
master, and various other subordinates. Under his direction were the 
Gruppenjiihrer, a "General Inspector," the National Youth Leader, 
an Aviation Director,, and bureaus for education, inspection of 
schools, motor transport, medicine, etc. On July 15, 1931, Hitler 
opened a Reichsjilhrerschule for the training of S.A. leaders. In the 
autumn Rohm ordered each brigade to organize a Fiihrervorschule, 
offering a two-weeks course for prospective officers. Closely con- 
nected with the staff of the S.A. was the Wehrpolitische Amt der 
NSDAP, headed by General Franz Ritter von Epp. This organiza- 
tion had five divisions in 1932 for external defence policy, internal 
defence policy, defence forces, popular defence potential, and the 
"defence movement." * 

The black-uniformed S.S. or Schutzstaftcl was a separate and 
smaller organization, also under the general command of Rohm. 
Originally the personal body-guard of Hitler, the S.S. became a 
small army of full-time mercenaries, carefully recruited, well 
equipped, and well paid for its services. Its original size was intended 
to be one-tenth that of the S.A., but this proportion was not observed 
after 1931. It expanded rapidly after January 1933, and by the late 
summer of the year of victory it had perhaps two hundred thousand 
members, all of them, of course, party members, as compared with 
about a million S.A. men. Some members of the S.A. became S.S. 
men, but transfers in general were discouraged, as was the recruit- 
ment of S.S. members from the ranks of the storm troopers. While 
the S.A. was the popular army of the movement, the S.S. was the 
picked Praetorian Guard. It was divided into five major groups, 
Southern, Western, Northern, Eastern, and Southeastern, with each 
of these hierarchically organized on military lines: Abschnitte, 
Standarten, Sturmbanne, Stiirme, Truppe, and Scharen. It was in 
large part commanded by aristocratic army officers. Heinrich Himm- 
ler was Commander-in-Chief. The Crown Prince of Waldeck was 

1 Nazi Jahrbuch, 1933, pp. 155-7. 


Stabsfiihrer and Sigfrid Seidel-Dittmarsch was Chej des Fiihrung- 
stakes. 1 

A complete cataloguing of all of the subsidiary party organizations 
would require many pages. Particular attention was given to the 
conversion and mobilization of youth and the members of "the 
lost generation" responded with enthusiasm to Nazi propaganda. 
The youth organizations were placed under the direction of Baldur 
von Schirach, who in turn was directly subordinate to Chief of Staff 
Rohm. The Hitler Jugend was established as an association of Nazi 
youths between fifteen and eighteen years of age. By 1932 it had 
twenty-two geographical sections throughout the Reich. It main- 
tained a "Reichsftihrerschttle" in Flechtdorf (Braunschweig) and 
published "Der junge Nationalsozialist" "Jungvoll^" and "Die 
deutsche Zu/^unft" as monthly periodicals and "Der junge Sturm- 
tnipp" as a semi-monthly. Its central organization contained divisions 
on the press, culture, schools, propaganda, "defence sport" (Wehr- 
sport), etc. A junior organization, Deutsches Jungvol\, with Baldwin 
Gcissler as Bttndesfiihrer, consisted of boys between ten and fifteen. 
The feminine auxiliary, the Bun d Deutscher Madel, led by Elizabeth 
Griefif-Walden, boasted forty-four Gaue by 1932. There was also the 
Nationalsozidistischer Deutscher Studentenbund, headed by Ger- 
hardt Riihle, with ten geographical divisions. A Nazi Women's 
League (Deutsche Frauenorden, transformed in October 1931 into 
the N.S. Frauenschaften}, a teachers' association, a German Physi- 
cians' Association, and Association of N.S. German Jurists, a NJS. 
Kulturbund, a NS. Beamtenabteilung with branches in every Gau, 
the important NSBO, and numerous other national or local auxil- 
iary organizations were designed to enlist people in all walks of life 
and with all possible human interests in the cause. 2 

Of major importance was the great press organization built up 
by the party. In 1930 there were 15 Nazi papers; in 1931, 45; and in 
1932, 49 dailies, weeklies, or bi-weeklies, 40 periodicals, and 14 jour- 
nals in frontier areas beyond the border. For 1932 the Nazi Jahrbuch 
listed 88 names and addresses of party newspaper and periodical 
offices throughout the Keich, publishing over a hundred daily or 
weekly sheets. 3 From a single local paper, the Volfyscher Beobachter 

1 Ibid., pp. 158-9. 

2 Cf. Ochmc and Caro, op. cit., pp. 27-31. 

3 Nazi Jahrbuch, 1933, pp. 142-54. 


of Munich, the party press had grown to cover the nation. The V.B., 
edited by Hitler and Rosenberg, was in format, if not in circulation, 
the largest German newspaper and appeared daily in two large 
editions, Munich and Berlin. Goebbels' Der Angriff was almost as 
well known. Scarcely a town of importance in the Reich was lacking 
a Nazi sheet by 1932.. Most of the journals were owned by companies 
controlled by the local party leaders, who were also the editors. Hit- 
ler was sole owner of the V.B. and of the weekly lllustrierter Beo- 
bachter. Prior to 1931 Der Angriff was owned by a private company. 
It was then acquired by the Berlin Gait of the party. 

Such party papers as Der Angriff, the V.B., the Difyateur (Stet- 
tin), Der Sttirmer (Niirnberg), Der Flammenwerjer (Munich), the 
Hessen Hammer (Darmstadt), etc., attained wide circulation and 
became sources of revenue rather than of expense to the party. Pe- 
riodicals, pamphlets, and brochures likewise found a large market. 
About half of the party literature of this type was published at 
Munich, including the humorous weekly Die Brennessel (The Net- 
tle) and the two series of brochures: the Af.5 1 . Bibliothe\, begun in 
August 1927 under the editorship of Feder, and the N.S. Monats- 
heft, begun in April 1930 and edited by Rosenberg. While these 
publications were controlled by the central directorate of the party 
and were therefore completely orthodox, the editors of local papers 
and journals often deviated widely from the established party lines. 
In the interest of unity and consistency Hitler created a party press 
service, directed from the Munich headquarters, to supply news to 
editors and reporters and to set forth the official party view on all 
controversial matters. The Foreign Press Bureau of the party, headed 
by Ernst Hanfstangl, Harvard alumnus, performed a comparable 
service for newspapers abroad. This work expanded in various di- 
rections, and in January 1932 the N.S. Korrespondenz was begun 
as a syndicated news service. 

Here, clearly, was no "party" in the ordinary sense of the term, 
but an intricately organized and skilfully contrived series of institu- 
tions admirably designed to disseminate a new Weltanschauung 
among all classes of the population. In polkics as elsewhere, nothing 
succeeds like success, for the illusion of victory is the prerequisite of 
victory. As the party membership expanded, the party machine grew 
ever more complex and imposing. Enemies were frightened. Dis- 
interested persons were impressed. Converts were inspired to ener- 


getic proselyting activity. Each party member found in the move- 
ment his heart's desire. His news of the world came to him through 
the party press, spiced with satire and denunciation and happily 
flavoured with phrases pleasing to the ear. There were also books, 
periodicals, pamphlets serious, humorous, philosophical, popular 
invented for every taste. Whatever the occupation of the Partei- 
genosse, the party organization was above all interested in his wel- 
fare, and some party organization was available in which he could 
share experiences with other converts in his own vocation. Whatever 
his hobbies and recreations, the party was on hand to serve them. 
His wife could join the N.S. Frauenorden. In the Hitler Jugend, 
the Jungvolk or the Hitler Madel, his children could find whole- 
some, "clean" fun, coupled with moral earnestness and ardent 
patriotism. There were always meetings, parades, flags, and music. 
The members of every Ortsgruppe met at least once a month and 
usually oftener. There was hypnotic oratory, great drama, tremen- 
dous excitement and exaltation. 

The vast machine which produced these pleasurable experiences 
was not only anti-democratic in its program, but profoundly anti- 
democratic in its inner structure. The Prussian army was its model: 
unlimited power at the top to send men, if need be, to death; un- 
questioning obedience at the bottom and joy in subservience and 
sacrifice. All power rested with Hitler. Terror could be broken only 
by terror. Mass organizations could be fought only by mass organi- 
zations. But, above all, iron discipline and complete responsibility 
of all leaders and members to Der Fiihrer was of the essence. "The 
movement represents, in small things and in large, the fundamental 
principle of Germanic democracy: the election of the leader, but 
unlimited authority in his hands." x Hitler, however, was not elected 
to leadership. He carried a dog-whip. He had terminated the election 
of leaders in August I92i. 2 He named the members of the Reichs- 
leitung and appointed the Gauleiters. The Gauleiters appointed the 
Kreisleiters. The Kreisleiters appointed the Ortsgruppenleiters. The 
rank and file were never consulted. Who grumbled or disobeyed 
was ejected. There was no discussion, no balloting at the party con- 
ventions. There was no formal procedure of consultation among the 
sub-leaders. Consultation there was, of course and conciliation, 

1 Hitler, quoted in Oehmc and Caro, op. cit., pp. 13-14. 

2 Cf. Mein Kampj, pp. 383-6, 659 f. 


compromise, adjustment, for without these political leadership is 
impossible. But all consultation took place in secret All must accept, 
in the last analysis, the decision of Der Fiihrer. 

This rigid regimentation was an enormous advantage in cam- 
paigning and manoeuvring. It was, moreover, a necessity dictated by 
the latent conflicts within the ranks and by the exigencies of preserv- 
ing unity among the incongruous elements. A hero-cult and a Mes- 
siah mythology were indispensable. The Fiihrerprinzip was a dan- 
ger, too, for suppressed tensions might explode disastrously at crucial 
moments. But the advantages of autocracy outweighed its perils 
during the struggle for power. An army must not debate. It must obey 
orders and fight. 

The pattern was not new. In the fervour and enthusiasm of the 
Nazi crusaders were the emotions felt by millions in the early phases 
of every great religion. That the cult was political rather than ec- 
clesiastical made its appeal the more enticing in a secular age in 
which the Church no longer afforded deej> psychic satisfactions. The 
Fatherland was the new God. Hitler was the Saviour. Meeting-halls, 
gay with banners and filled with worshippers intoxicated with mys- 
tic words, were the temples of the faithful. Those of the inner shrine 
laboured with the devotion and fanaticism of Jesuits. The shades 
of the great prophets and politicians of the past haunted these secret 
conclaves. Mohammed was there and Peter the Hermit, Machia- 
velli, Ignatius Loyola, Martin Luther, the great Frederick, Napoleon, 
and Bismarck. They had created myths and legends moving mil- 
lions to joyous sacrifice for a vision of salvation. Their names were 
magic. Hitler's could be as potent. The Marxists, tor), knew a little 
of the secret of winning the masses. Hitler learned from them, prof- 
ited by their mistakes, and surpassed them. Lassalle, Bebel, Lenin 
were models to follow and, above all, Mussolini. Thus the NSDAP 
became a great organized brotherhood of missionaries, comparable 
in the twentieth century only to the Communist Party of Red Russia 
or to the Fascist Party of the new Italy. Like them it was to win 
the multitudes, conquer power, and create a new heaven and a new 


THE American observer of Nazi propaganda cannot fail to be im- 
pressed with the circumstance that the methods employed bear a 


striking resemblance to certain other techniques widely employed 
for non-political purposes in the United States. Three distinct but 
converging sequences of skills are here combined. One is the skill 
of evoking a collective frenzy of emotional exaltation through the 
devices of "spellbinding." Here the voice from the platform, assisted 
perhaps by songs, images, banners and other appropriate parapher- 
nalia, reaches out to its multitudes of auditors. By adept manipula- 
tion of word-symbols and of muscular and glandular reactions, it 
strips off acquired inhibitions, plays caressingly upon the naked and 
elemental id-drives with their aura of rationalizations and guilt- 
feelings, and evokes a spiritual orgasm leading to whatever type of 
violent mass behaviour the orator is seeking to produce. This is the 
technique of the religious "revivalist" who produces dramatic "con- 
versions." It is the technique of certain Negro Baptist groups in the 
American South, of Holy Rollers, Shakers, and other orgiastic peas- 
ant sects, Christian and pagan. Billy Sunday, William Jennings 
Bryan, Alexander Dowie, Paul Rader, Wilbur Glenn Voliva, and 
Aimee Semple McPherson have been the best-known practitioners 
of the art. Numerous variants of the technique, applied to non- 
religious groups, come to mind at once. It is the technique of leaders 
of lynching mobs, of "blues singers," "Mammy singers," and "croon- 
ers" on stage, screen and radio, of "ballyhoo artists" in municipal 
politics, and, at times, of the managers of American presidential 

The second major source of Nazi propaganda technique is the 
"secret society." Here European precedents are as significant as 
American ones for example, the Jesuits, the Masonic Order, the 
Carbonari, and sundry revolutionary and terrorist organizations in 
central and eastern Europe. Here again, however, the arts of the 
secret society have perhaps reached their highest development in the 
United States. Such groups achieve solidarity by familiar symbols 
of identification which are given mystic significance and evoke emo- 
tional affects highly gratifying to their members. In an atmosphere 
of mystery, noviciates are inducted into the sacred circle of those 
gifted with esoteric wisdom. The initiated enjoy ego-inflation by 
evoking deference tftrough the use of the symbols with which they 
identify themselves. Such groups were numerous among many 
American Indian tribes. Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Columbus, 
Elks, Moose, Eagles, and members of other "lodges" all exhibiting 


modern variants of fetishism and totemism are to be seen parading 
with bands, uniforms, and standards in almost any modern American 
city. American "Greek-letter societies" and college fraternities and 
sororities are other obvious instances of the pattern. 

In this connection it is worth recalling that the most perfect pro- 
totype of the NSDAP is the Ku Klux Klan the southern Klan of the 
late sixties and seventies and the revived Klan of the 1920*8 and 
1930'$ in the American "Bible Belt." In this remarkable organization 
are to be found parallels for almost all of the elements of Nazi sym- 
bolism. It is anti-Semitic, anti-Negro, anti-Catholic, anti-foreign. It 
employs strange names and honorary titles. The masked, hooded, 
and white-gowned night-riders, like the brown-shirted storm troop- 
ers, inspire awe and terror in the community. The "Knights of the 
Golden Circle" correspond to the S.S., the "Grand Kleagle" to the 
Oberosaf, the "Klaxons" to the Gauleiters, the fiery crosses to the 
flaming swastikas, and the "Invisible Empire" to the mysterious 
"Third Reich." Had Hitler studied the K.K.K. in detail, he could 
scarcely hav$ imitated its organization anH rituals more completely. 

The third source of inspiration was the science of modern adver- 
tising, also carried to perfection in the United States. Here also 
primitive arts become highly conscious and sophisticated techniques 
for evoking collective responses. The tribal medicine-man and the 
wandering vender of herbs, roots, and patent medicines become in 
the twentieth century high-pressure salesmen and great advertising 
syndicates, utilizing the press, the radio, the screen, and all the graphic 
arts to enlarge shrinking markets for the vast output of modern 
machine industry. The major technique is that of constant and sub- 
tle suggestion, appealing to vanity, social prestige, mother-love, erot- 
icism, fear of sickness, death, and economic insecurity, etc., ad in- 
finitum. Goods of all kinds are named and effective names are 
vested with magic properties. The names in turn are identified by 
words and pictures with health, beauty, riches, wisdom, distinction, 
security, adventure, and a dozen other enjoyable experiences. Thus 
is "sales resistance" broken down. Thus are chewing-gums, tooth- 
pastes, mineral oils, stocks and bonds, gasolines, sewing-machines, 
insurance policies, refrigerators, hotel accommodations, motor cars, 
and headache pills sold to the great public. Here the shades of P. T. 
Barnum and Lydia Pinkham are transfigured into Neon lights, bill- 


boards, the modern metropolitan press, and the Radio Corporation 
of America. 

Nazi propaganda technique was (and is) nothing more nor less 
than an extraordinarily adroit combination of these three types of 
symbolism. It is not to be inferred that Hitler and his aides con- 
sciously copied American models. Religious revivals, secret societies, 
and modern advertising companies were to be found in Germany no 
less than in the United States. Above all, the highly perfected prop- 
aganda techniques of the belligerent governments in the Great War 
were available as models for the "drummer" of the Third Reich. 
The techniques of the Social Democrats and Communists were 
imitated to win proletarian converts. Many ingenious devices were 
worked out independently, stumbled upon accidentally, or created 
by sheer genius. And, what was most unusual, the Nazi propagan- 
dists were in general disposed to admit their opportunism and their 
unscrupulousness with perfect frankness. Instead of alienating fol- 
lowers, this frankness seemed only to evoke greater respect from 
the intellectuals who "saw through" the propaganda Jput who ad- 
mired cleverness, and from the masses who were willing and even 
anxious to be "taken in." 

Hitler's personal contribution to the party's propaganda technique 
was of decisive importance. He supplied the "Bible" of the movement 
in his autobiography, the royalties from which gave him a comfort- 
able independent income as soon as it became a best-seller. He in- 
vented the HaJfenfyeuz flag and much of the elaborate military 
insignia of the S.A. and S.S. He was the symbol artist par excellence. 
At the time of the Niirnberg convention of 1927 he spent three days 
in meditation and then emerged with the striking Partei-Tag 
Placate. He was actor and stage director, as well as scene-painter, 
costumer, and property man. The pageantry of the great parades and 
mass meetings was his. The regimented, inspired storm troopers 
parading with flags and standards through flagged streets and down 
the aisles of bannered halls to the crash of martial music were his. 
The impressive Fahnenweihe ceremony was his. In its performance 
he walked down the ranked rows of S.A. standards and flags and 
touched each one solemnly and mysteriously with the sacred Blut- 
jahne of 1923, the tattered banner stained with the blood of the 
martyrs who fell before the Feldherrnhalle. 1 

*Cf. Weigand von Miltenberg: Adolf Hitler, William ///, pp. 26-9 and p. 49. 


Der Fiihrer excelled in flags, emblems, and ceremonies rather than 
in phrases. Slogans he borrowed freely from many sources. "Gemein- 
ntitz vor Eigennutz" and "Brechung der Zinsknechtschajt" came 
from Gottfried Feder. "Detitschland Envachel" came from the Pan- 
German League and from Dietrich Eckart. "Freiheit und Broil" 
came from Gregor Strasser. Hitler had an intuitive feeling for what 
was effective in propaganda. But he wrote badly and was never at 
home in the world of written words. Visual symbols he could invent. 
Verbal symbols he got from his aides or purloined where he could. 
For him the spoken word was always to be preferred to writing. 
He was spellbinder, not journalist. But he had studied propaganda 
technique during the war and had learned what worked. The only 
sections of Mein Kampf which have scientific value are those dealing 
with propaganda technique. Allied propaganda, he perceived, was 
more effective than German propaganda because it was simpler, 
cruder, more striking. Propaganda should appeal to the heart (and 
the viscera), not to the mind. It should be a method of incitement, 
not of instruction. A few points should be reiterated ceaselessly. To 
inspire hate is better than to inspire ridicule, because hate implies 
fear, and fear, rather than laughter, produces energetic and heroic 
action. In political as in commercial advertising the products of 
competitors should never be conceded to possess any virtues. "Your 
weapon is attack, never defence! Never let the enemy rest a mo- 
ment!" echoed Goebbels. 

"Toward whom must propaganda be directed? Toward the scien- 
tific intelligentsia or toward the uneducated masses? It must always 
and exclusively be directed toward the masses. . . . Propaganda can 
no more be science in its content than a placard can be art. . . . The 
task of propaganda does not lie in the scientific instruction of in- 
dividuals, but in the orientation of the mass toward specific facts, 
cases, needs, etc., whose importance should thereby be placed first 
in the eyes of the multitude. . . . The teachability of the great 
masses is very limited, their understanding small, and their memory 
short." (Mein Kampf, pp. 196-8.) 

"Faith is more difficult to shake than knowledge, love undergoes 
fewer changes than respect. Hate is more permanent than antipathy, 
and the impetus to the most powerful revolutions in this world lies 


at all times less in scientific cognition dominating the masses than in 
the fanaticism inspiring them and sometimes in the hysteria driving 
them forward. Who wishes to win the broad mass must know the 
key which opens the door to its heart. It is not called 'objectivity/ i.e. 
weakness, but Will and Strength." (Mein Kampf, p. 371.) 

"Every world-moving Idea has not only the right but the duty to 
avail itself of whatever means will make possible the realization of 
its purpose. The Result is the only earthly judge of the Tightness or 
wrongness of such an undertaking." (Mein Kampf, p. 377.) 

"A revolutionist must be able to do everything to unchain vol- 
canic passions, to arouse outbreaks of fury, to set masses of men on 
the march, to organize hate and suspicion with ice-cold calculation, 
so to speak with legal methods. . . ." (Goebbels in Der Angriff, 
February 18, 1929.) 

Music and songs played a major role in evoking mass enthusiasm. 
Old folk-tunes and familiar military songs were used with striking 
new verses. The popular war song Deutschland tiber Alles was al- 
ways on the lips of the storm troopers. Meetings and demonstrations 
were usually opened and closed with the singing of the Horst Wessel 
Lied, composed by one of the party's martyrs. Dietrich Eckart's 
Deutschland Erwache! was always effective: 


Storm, storm, storm, storm! 

From tower to tower peal bells of alarm. 

Peal out! Sparks fly as hammers strike. 

Comes Judas forth to win the Reich. 

Peal out! The bloody ropes hang red 

Around our martyred hero dead. 

Peal out that thundering earth may know 

Salvation's rage for honour's sake. 

To people dreaming still comes woe. 

Germany, awake! Awake! 

There were also songs about "Jewish blood spurting under the 


knife," and love-songs about fallen heroes, and war-songs full of 
trumpets and revenge. 


Rise up in arms to battle, for to battle are we born. 
Rise up in arms to battle now, to battle for the morn. 
To Adolf Hitler, Leader, have we sworn our solemn oath, 
To Adolf Hitler, Leader, hold we fast and true our troth. 

fearless, fear we never the Moscow legions bold, 

We're fearless toward the Reichsbanner black and red and gold. 

Our enemies and foemen, may the Devil seize them all. 

The grafters, crooks, and cowards, may each criminal hear his call. 

We never fight, nay never, for the gold of millionaires. 
To defy the Bourse and Capital our courage ever dares. 
For national honour only do we all exert* our might, 
For the future bright of Germany, united all, we fight. 

Our hero brave, Horst Wessel, falls martyr to Red plot, 
Our Berlin's noblest victim of criminal, bestial shot. 
But Freedom's will, invincible, they cannot slay nor burn, 
For soon the page of Destiny relentlessly will turn. 


God who makes His iron grow, He wishes now no slaves. 

He gives to man in righteousness his spears and pikes and blades. 

He gives to man his bravery, the anger of hot breath 

Which man keeps keen in combat fierce, till bloody feud brings death. 

Let sound what now can only sound: the drums' and cymbals' clash. 
Today we stand, each man for man. The iron's bloody flash 
With hangmen's blood, with Frenchmen's blood; our vengeance 

now is sweet. 

For Germans all, this is our goal. Hear drums and trumpets beat. 

E. M. ARNDT l 

1 Cf. German texts in the pamphlets of the National J sozialistischer Liederschatz (Ber- 
lin: Schmidt); the two typical songs given above are taken from Band 6 of this series. 



THE great propaganda machine of the NSDAP rolled forward after 
1929 like an intricate Juggernaut car, crushing out all opposition 
and conquering the emotions of the Kleinburgertum by storm. Its 
chief enemies, the Social Democrats and the Communists, could 
offer no effective resistance, for they lacked both money and imag- 
ination. With money, imagination could be purchased. Without 
money nothing was possible. Whence came the millions of marks 
which the Hillerbewegung dispensed so freely? 

All questions of party finances are shrouded in mystery, rumour, 
and conjecture. Few political parties find it expedient to reveal all 
the sources of their revenue and all the purposes of their expendi- 
tures. In Germany, only the Social Democrats made full and regular 
reports on their finances, for a party supported by dues and small 
contributions from the pay-envelopes of wage-earners had little to 
conceal. It spent almost eleven million marks in 1928, eleven and a 
half million in 1929, and nearly fifteen million in I930. 1 The Na- 
tionalists spent six to seven million marks annually, the German 
People's Party about three, the Centrum one and a half, the Demo- 
crats and the Communists perhaps one million each. German legis- 
lation required no publicity of party funds and no kind of public 
accounting. It imposed no limits on party contributions or expendi- 
tures, nor did it forbid corporations to contribute to campaign funds. 
The NSDAP has from the beginning kept all aspects of its finances 
a closely guarded secret. Its books are closed to inspection by all save 
the highest party leaders. From external evidence it is safe to assume 
that the party spent more on propaganda than any other party in 
the Reichstag election campaign of 1930. Its expenditures during 
1931 and 1932 were also very large, but no accurate estimates of them 
can be made. Apart from campaigning, the overhead expense of 
maintaining the huge party bureaucracy was enormous. 

The sources of party revenue were numerous and varied. All party 
members paid dues of one mark per month. By mid-year 1931 the 
party had half a million members. Six million marks a year was no 
inconsiderable sum by German standards. Each new member, more- 

Table in J. K. Pollock: Money and Politics Abroad (New York: Knopf; 1932), 
p. 214. 


over, paid an initiation fee of varying amount, depending upon his 
economic status. He was likewise required to pay special assess- 
ments for particular purposes. At the close of 1929 Hitler ordered 
the party members to subscribe to a loan, at six and a half per cent 
interest, payable after January i, 1931, with ten marks as a minimum 
subscription. Some eight hundred thousand marks were raised in 
this way. Party members also paid admission to meetings, subscribed 
to papers, bought books, emblems, flags, uniforms, etc. Non-party 
members and prospective converts were likewise induced to con- 
tribute. Following the example of the Social Democrats, the party 
sold tickets to its mass meetings. Unemployed might be admitted 
free. Others paid fifty pfcnnigc, one mark, two marks, or even as 
much as ten marks, depending upon their means and the places they 
desired. Three big meetings in the Berlin Sportpalast in the campaign 
of 1930 yielded a total profit of thirty thousand marks. Thousands of 
meetings all over the Reich not only paid for themselves, but filled 
the party treasury. It is safe to estimate that each of the six and a half 
million voters who supported the party in September 1930 contrib- 
uted, directly or indirectly, an average of at least three marks or a 
total of 19,500,000 marks during the course of the campaign. Many 
party papers and periodicals likewise made a profit, part of which 
found its way into the party coffers. Newspaper syndicates desiring 
interviews with the party leaders were charged all that the traffic 
would bear. The Zeugmeisterei made considerable profit from selling 
uniforms and paraphernalia. All party members contributed to the 

In short, the party, like a church, was partially self-supporting. 
Unfortunately, there is no way of ascertaining the size of its annual 
budgets or the proportion of its revenues coming from the sources 
which have been mentioned. But it is clear that these internal re- 
sources could never by themselves have sufficed to pay the party's 
bills, even with the greatest economy and most scrupulous book- 
keeping. Its propaganda expenditures were on far too lavish a scale. 
And its ordinary revenues were by no means all available for prop- 
aganda purposes. Regular salaries and honorariums had to be paid 
to the party's employees and officials. Unemployed party members 
often received financial assistance. Wounded S.A. men received in- 
surance. Impoverished storm troopers could obtain small stipends. 
After 1930 half of the fees from new party members and half the 


profits of the Zeugmeisterei went to the Sturmabteilung* Even 
then, with a membership of probably less than fifty thousand, the 
S.A. cost at least five million marks annually, less than half of which 
came from the storm troopers themselves. In the absence of evidence, 
guessing is dangerous, but it may be conservatively estimated that 
between one-third and one-half of the party's revenue came from 
sources other than dues, assessments, admission fees, and small indi- 
vidual contributions. 

If the specific amounts of other donations to the party treasury 
cannot now be ascertained, the general sources admit of no debate. 
The NSDAP, like all political parties (other than those of the revo- 
lutionary proletariat), went for money to the people who had money 
and who might be persuaded, for a quid pro quo, to part with 
some of it. The party went to the upper strata of the German wealth- 
and-income pyramid, to the already reactionary and anti-republican 
elite: to the bourgeois aristocracy of money, to the Junker aristocracy 
of land, to business men, employers, bankers, industrialists, land- 
owners, and all others possessed of fortunes. These groups, in Ger- 
many as elsewhere, contributed to all parties save the Communists. 
Their donations went particularly to the German People's Party and 
to the Nationalists. They tended to view the NSDAP as a useful tool 
with which to win the masses to reaction. It could be used to crush 
not only Marxism and a pernicious democracy, but the entire Ger- 
man labour movement. As it grew and seemed likely to gain power, 
expediency dictated contributions as a matter of self-protection, even 
from people of wealth not otherwise sympathetic to the "socialism," 
national or otherwise, of a "workers' " party. 

Out of the maze of rumour and allegation, the following facts 
seem fairly well established. In the 1920-23 period Hitler secured 
contributions from Herr Aust and Geheimrat Kuhlo, leaders of the 
Syndikus des Bayerschen Industriellenverbandes, who presumably 
transmitted funds donatecf 'by the industrialists comprising the or- 
ganization. Money was also forthcoming from Duke Ludwig Wil- 
helm of Bavaria, the Duke of Coburg, Prince Henckel von Donners- 
marck, and a few other nobles and large landowners. 2 Among the 
business leaders outside of Bavaria who contributed to the cause were 
Herr Mutschmann, a textile-manufacturer of Plauen; Herr von 

f. p. 1 39 below. 
2 Cf. the Berlin Welt am Abend, December n, 1930. 


Maflfei, a Munich employer; August von Borsig of Berlin; Edwin 
Bechstein, the piano-manufacturer of Saxe; Herr Honnschuh of 
Kiilmbach; and apparently also for a time Hugo Stinnes and several 
other Ruhr industrialists. 1 

The list of industrialist and aristocratic contributors between 1925 
and 1933 is much longer, especially after 1930. In the conflict of 1926 
the Left wing of the party alleged that the Munich leaders had "sold 
out" to Big Business. Among the industrialists who were alleged to 
have contributed a hundred thousand marks or more apiece were 
Mutschmann, Bechstein, Schneider, Itzehoe, and Becker, all manu- 
facturers. Rider's agents made systematic collections among business 
men, apparently with a good deal of success. Borsig of Berlin and 
Emil Kirdorf and Krupp von Bohlen of the Ruhr contributed, al- 
though the latter supported Hindenburg against Hitler in the presi- 
dential election of 1932. The Lahusen brothers of Bremen, later tried 
for embezzling the funds of the Nordwolle concern which went 
bankrupt under their direction, also made offerings. Among the 
landed aristocrats, Baron von der Goltz and other east Prussian 
Junkers found it expedient to make contributions. 2 Among the 
defunct (but still wealthy) royalty, funds came from the Dukes of 
Coburg and Brunswick and the Grand Dukes of Oldenburg and 
Mecklenburg 3 and, among the Hohenzollcrns, from the ex-Crown 
Princess Cccilie and from Prince August Wilhelm ("Auwi"), who 
joined the party. 

Money also came from abroad, partly from deposits made by the 
party in foreign banks and partly from foreign sympathizers, though 
here the rumours are even more elusive. Funds from Austria and 
Czechoslovakia probably came from Nazi party locals rather than 
from large industrialists. There is some evidence, however, that two 
directors (von Arthaber and von Dutschnitz) of Skoda, the great 
Czech artillery firm at Pilsen, partly owned by the French Schneider- 
Creusot interests, contributed, for reasons which are obvious to those 

1 Cf. Richard Lcwinsohn: Das Geld in der PolitiJ^ (Berlin: Fischer; 1930). The ex- 
treme secrecy with which the party's finances are managed, coupled with pro forma 
denials of all such allegations, renders it obviously impossible to present any docu- 
mentary evidence of the contributors to the party. The names given here have in one 
way or another leaked out. Doubtless many other wealthy contributors remain anony- 

2 Berlin Vorwarts, August 27, 1929. 

3 Weltbuhne, April 30, 1932, cited in E. A. Mowrer, Germany Puts the Clock. 
p. 145. 


familiar with the ways of armament-makers. Money came likewise 
from Switzerland and Holland and perhaps from Great Britain and 
the United States. There are many wealthy British people who are 
well-known supporters of the totalitarian ideal and who for economic 
as well as political reasons might have contributed. In fact rumour 
was very active concerning two or three prominent English indus- 
trialists. The Swedish match king, Ivar Kreuger, the American 
automobile king, Henry Ford, and the Italian Duce, Mussolini, are 
likewise reputed to have made donations. 

The most important of Hitler's supporters among the German 
industrialists was the multimillionaire, Fritz Thyssen, the dry, hard- 
headed, academic and obstinate Ruhr magnate who was chairman 
of the Vereinigte Stahlwerke A.G., with its headquarters at Miihl- 
heim. His firm, employing 170,000 workers in good years, was 
founded in 1871 by his father, August, who drank beer with his 
workers, walked to work rather than spend money on street-cars, 
and bought up Ruhr coal-fields, French and German iron ore in 
Lorraine, cement-factories, power-stations, shipping lines, and rail- 
ways. In the Great War the Thyssens became large-scale manufac- 
turers of ammunition, rivalled only by the Krupps. During the 
French occupation of the Ruhr they refused to comply with the 
invaders' orders and Fritz was sent to prison by a French court 
martial. Unlike his father, Fritz lived in a castle on a hill. He was 
bitterly anti-French, anti-republican, anti-pacifist. He joined the Na- 
tionalist Party and supported the Stahlhelm. In the crash of 1930-31 
Thyssen was hard hit. He and his business allies, Flick and Voegler 
(successors of Stinnes), struggled desperately with their major com- 
petitor, the Otto Wolff-Deutsche Bank group, consisting of more 
liberal Gatholic and Jewish industrialists and Bankers. Thyssen knew 
Goring and became Hitler's personal friend. He introduced Der 
Fiihrcr to the Industrie Klub of Diisseldorf as the saviour of Germany 
and of German capitalism. 1 In 1930 he and Kirdorff contributed 
something like a million marks to the party. In 1932, prior to the 
presidential election, he donated three million marks. He likewise 
solicited contributions from his colleagues and subordinates and 
was, all in all, the most useful single supporter of the Nazis. 2 

1 Cf. pp. 140-141 below. 

2 Cf. "August Thyssen" in Felix Pinner: Detttsche Wirtschaftsjuhrer, pp. 66-74, ancl 
the sensational but undocumented allegations in Ernst Henri: Hitler Over Europe 
(New York: Simon and Schuster; 1934), "Thyssen's Plot," pp. 1-27. 


All questions of motives are difficult. Glib formulations, accord- 
ing to which the industrialists "bought'* Hitler to do their bidding, 
are too simple. Some industrialists contributed as patriots, sincerely 
believing in "Germany's awakening." Others, Thyssen among them, 
cherished far-reaching schemes of power and profit to be realized 
by the establishment of the Third Reich. Still others "played safe" 
by contributing to a party which seemed likely to achieve power. 
All were anti-Communist and anti-Social Democratic and therefore 
interested in any political movement promising the destruction of 
Marxism. All had an obvious interest in weakening or, if possible, 
destroying the collective bargaining power of German labour, to 
which they had been obliged to make many grudging concessions. 
For this they were prepared to pay a price : the price of subsidizing 
the NSDAP and the price of submitting to extensive governmental 
control in a Fascist State in which strikes would be forbidden, the 
proletariat would be impotent, and Marxism would be annihilated. 
Like the corresponding groups in Italy which backed Mussolini, 
they envisaged a Fascist State as one in which they would once more 
be secure, prosperous, and powerful. Hitler would take money wher- 
ever it was to be had and would use the support of the industrialists 
for his own ends. If these ends coincided with those of the moneyed 
aristocracy, well and good. He did not need to be "bribed" to oppose 
Marxism and trade unionism. These had long been the targets against 
which he discharged his personal resentments. "Socialistic" slogans 
and attacks on "capitalism" were necessary to win the masses. He 
at least regarded them as a means to power, not as a program, what- 
ever the Strasser brothers might believe. On February 18, 1930, the 
Dresden Gauleiter wrote to the Weimar factory-manager Fritsche : 

"Do not let yourself be continually confused by the text of our 
posters. ... Of course, there are catchwords like 'Down with 
capitalism,' etc., but these are unquestionably necessary, for under 
the flag of 'German national' or 'national' alone, you must know, we 
should never reach our goal, we should have no future. We must 
talk the language of the embittered socialist workmen ... or else 
they wouldn't feel at home with us. We don't come out with -a 
direct program ... for reasons of diplomacy." 1 

And on March 4, 1931, Hitler wrote to the Hessen Gauleiter giv- 

1 Quoted in Mowrcr, op, cit., p. 150. 


ing him a list of firms from which fifteen thousand marks must be 
collected in return for party work in the trade unions against the 
Communists. 1 Similar assurances were doubtless given to other in- 
dustrialists. Thyssen, Kirdorf, and the aristocrats and princes did 
not believe that they were supporting a "Socialist," "Workers'" 
party. They were not. Insincerity and hyprocisy are words without 
meaning in Nazi mentality. They are inapplicable to the mental 
processes here involved. All means were permissible to win the 
masses and to gain power. Power once gained could be exercised 
with or against the ruling classes. Hitler and his aides had no ambi- 
tions or objectives requiring them to do battle with those of wealth 
and property. Such a conflict would be highly dangerous. Hitler, like 
Thyssen, believed in private property, individual initiative, profits, 
and the whole pattern of capitalistic economy. Those in public office 
who do not use the machinery of the State against the existing elite 
necessarily use it to the advantage of that elite. The perpetuation 
and defence of an existing social hierarchy perpetuate and defend 
the material and psychological benefits which those at its apex derive 
from it. And a movement which was determined, in the name of 
national unity, to crush class conflict, to destroy Marxism, and to 
demolish the trade unions could not but be advantageous to the 
German aristocracy and the upper bourgeoisie. 

Thus financed, the propaganda machine did its work. Thousands 
upon thousands of great mass meetings echo with cheers of pros- 
pective victory as the tireless party chieftains dash about the Reich 
in swift motor cars or airplanes, preaching, beseeching, exhorting, 
denouncing. 2 A mass meeting of the NSDAP is no ordinary occasion. 
Converts, sympathizers, and even enemies pay gladly for the privi- 
lege of attending, for the spectacle is better than High Mass, Greek 
tragedy, and Wagnerian opera combined. Simple men, moreover, 
may here rub shoulders with generals, aristocrats, and millionaires 
and address them familiarly as "comrade." First there is doubt as 
to whether one can get in at all. The local branch of the party has 
hired the largest hall in town. It has left no stone unturned to pack 
it to the doors long before the meeting is scheduled to begin. Sus- 

1 Quoted in Ernst Ottwalt: Deutschland Erwache! pp. 375-6. 

2 See the description of a typical Nazi campaign meeting in Mowrer, op. cit., pp. 


pense adds zest to the occasion. People stand in line for half a day 
to hear Der Fiihrer and for hours to hear Goebbels, Goring, Frick, 
the Strassers, or Rosenberg. In this there is no accident, nor is it 
mere chance that the meeting is scheduled for eight or nine o'clock 
in the evening. Hitler has written that people's resistance is lower in 
the evening than at any other time. A little added fatigue and sus- 
pense are good. The outside of the hall is gay with flags and banners. 
S.A. men sell papers, pamphlets, and song-books to the waiting 
throngs: heartening military songs full of hate for Frenchmen and 
Poles and most interesting pamphlets against the Jews, against the 
bankers, against Bolshevism. A company of S.A. men drill and sing 
in the street and perhaps stage a dramatic torch-light parade with 
bands and flags. Herrlich! 

Within is an inspiring spectacle. Great HaJ^en\reuz flags are 
draped over the platform, decorated with pine bows and bunting. 
Around the balcony, more flags and huge white streamers with 
enormous black letters: "Germany, Awake!" "Freedom and 
Bread!" "Away with Reparations!" "Down with Versailles!" 
"Gemeinnutz vor Eigennntz!" and "Brechung der Zinsfyiecht- 
schajt!" Around the walls and on the stage stand sturdy ranks of 
storm troopers in uniform, with the light of crusaders on their 
faces. The doors are opened several hours before the meeting be- 
gins. The expectant audience waits patiently. A military band affords 
entertainment while people gossip and munch sandwiches. 

Finally there is a stir among the packed thousands. Drums and 
trumpets crash at the door. A disciplined regiment of storm troopers 
marches in slowly, solemnly, carrying bright standards and swas- 
tika flags with poles tipped with spear-points or bayonets. Scores of 
flags pass by in majestic procession to stirring martial music, or 
perhaps to the slow rhythm of "The Entry of the Gods into Val- 
halla." Then at the end a special body-guard either in natty brown 
uniforms or in the striking black and silver of the SchiitzstaffeL 
Within a hollow square of marching men are the party leaders, also 
uniformed. Then, the centre of all eyes, Der Fiihrer in his tan 
raincoat, hatless, smiling, and affably greeting those to right and 
left. A man of the people! Germany's Saviour! Trained party mem- 
bers in the audience raise their arms in salute and shout: "Hrill" 
Again "Heill" Many join. Other arms shoot up. The third "Heill" 


swells into a great ovation, rushing upward like a mighty benedic- 
tion from the sea of arms. Even surly and sour-faced critics feel their 
pulses beat fasten There are lumps in a thousand throats and thrills 
of ecstasy along a thousand spines. 

The procession reaches the platform. The massed bands crash 
triumphantly and subside. The chairman speaks softly, confidentially, 
soothingly, like a good neighbour. He dwells on the misfortunes of 
his auditors. He shouts: "What is the cause of our suffering?" 
Mighty voices from the audience reply: "The System!" "Who is 
behind the System?" "The Jews!" "Who is Adolf Hitler?" "A last 
hope unser Fuhrer!" Hitler rises, comes forward, pauses and 
speaks. Quietly, ingratiatingly at first. Then rough, hysterical cli- 
maxes. No reasoning, no persuasion, no analysis, no pleading. Only 
magnificent affirmation. Pity. Passion. Inspiration. Violence. The 
German people are the greatest of people. German Kultur is the 
highest culture. Germany is debauched, degraded, impoverished. 
Through no fault of Germans. The valiant, victorious German armies 
were stabbed in the back. By the Jews. By the Marxists. The Ver- 
sailles shame-treaty is a plot of the French Negro-Jewish militarists, 
supported by English and American capitalists, bent on bleeding 
Germany white. Supported by the enemy within: the Jews, the 
pacifists, the democrats, the Red sub-humans, and the scheming 
Bourse capitalists who control these puppets. Our colonies! Our lost 
provinces! Food for our children! Honour and power! Of these 
things the System cheats us. The System must be smashed. The 
November criminals must be kicked out. Only Nationalsocialism 
can bring salvation. Only the party can cut the knot and lead the 
way to the glorious Third Reich. Liberation! Revenge! Victory! 

The very air tingles with excitement. All eyes are on the speaker 
under the spotlights, thundering, waving his arms, sweeping back 
his hair from his perspiring brow. The banners and slogans, the 
flags and storm troopers, the audience, the hall itself fade into a blur. 
There is only a Man in a blaze of light, pulsating amid the all but 
perceptible beat of celestial wings. The audience sways, rocks, weeps, 
laughs, groans in delirium. Richtig, sehr richtigl At the end, in over- 
whelming chorus: "Hcill Heill Heill Hitler I" The bands blare and 
the multitude takes up the solemn, stirring chant of the Horst Wes- 
sel Lied: 


Raise high the flags! Stand rank on rank together. 
Storm troopers march with steady, quiet tread. 
Our comrades brave, shot down by Red Front and Reaction, 
In spirit march before the ranks they led. 

Make free the streets for brown battalions marching! 
Make free the streets! Storm troopers stride ahead. 
Already millions gaze with hope upon our banner. 
The day now dawns for Fredjom and for Bread. 

Once more the storm appeal calls all to combat. 
We stand prepared. Our cause we shall defend. 
Soon Hitler flags will fly o'er all the house-tops. 
Our servitude will soon be at an end. 

Raise high the flags! Stand rank on rank together. . . . 




THE Weltanschauung of Nationalsocialism has become one of the 
major mass ideologies of the twentieth century. As such, its origins 
and content deserve more systematic treatment than they have thus 
far received. The task of tracing each of the specific verbalizations of 
the NSDAP to its historical source will not be attempted here, but 
may be left to the historians of political theory. Suffice it merely to 
suggest at the outset that the student of political philosophy inter- 
ested in the doctrinal progenitors of Nationalsocialism will find it 
profitable to peruse the literature of Italian Fascism, especially the 
writings of Giovanni Gentile and Alfredo Rocco, and to read among 
the German predecessors the works of Paul de Lagarde, Ferdinand 
Lassalle, Friedrich Naumann, Justizrat Class, Othmar Spann, and 
Oswald Spengler. 

For him who would delve somewhat deeper, the books of Houston 
Stewart Chamberlain, Count Arthur de Gobineau, Friedrich Nietz- 
sche, Fichte, Treitschke, and Hegel are to be recommended. The 
literature of the early nineteenth-century German Romanticist re- 
action against the French Revolution will also bear fruitful exam- 
ination. Many leading Nazi ideas are to be found in the volumes 
of Ludwig von Haller 1 and of Adam Miiller. 2 Along a slightly 
different genealogical line stand the works of Vilfredo Pareto, Wil- 

1 Cf. his Restauration der Staats-Wisscnschajt, oder Theorie des natilrlich-geselUgen 
Zustands der Chimdrc des Kiinstlichbtirgcrlichen entgegengesetzt, 6 vols., 1816-34. 
2 Cf. especially his Elemente der Staatswissenschajt, 1809. The writer is indebted to 
Professor Walter Dorn of Ohio State University for calling his attention to the re- 
markable parallelism between the ideology of Nationalsocialism and that of the Ger- 
man political Romantics of a century ago. 



liam James, and Gustav Le Bon. In the background loom Edmund 
Burke, Thomas Hobbes, Bossuet, Bodin, and Machiavelli. Certain 
roots of the new creed are also to be found in the writings of Fred- 
erick the Great and Martin Luther, not to mention the Gallic Wars 
of Julius Caesar and the Germania of Tacitus, where many interest- 
misconceptions regarding the peculiar virtues of the "German race" 
were presented to the Roman world. Beyond Tacitus it is perhaps 
scarcely worth while to go. 

Such an analysis of the ideological origins of the Nazi gospel 
would be highly interesting, but not directly germane to the purposes 
of the present work. 1 Indeed, a general doubt may be raised as to 
whether such studies of political ideas are per se profitable to the 
student of social and political processes. The procedure usually em- 
ployed may even be misleading, if it suggests that an identity or 
similarity of creeds necessarily indicates that a later ideology is based 
upon or copied from an earlier one. Nationalsocialism, Italian Fas- 
cism, French royalism, Japanese militarism, and early German polit- 
ical Romanticism all exhibit similarities of doctrine which are due 
less to direct cultural diffusion and imitation than to like causes 
producing, independently, like results. Historians of ideas, moreover, 
are prone to assume that man is rational and that ideas move the 
world. But the evolution of political and social word-symbols at the 
hands of the intelligentsia is merely a surface phenomenon of the 
evolution of social and political interrelationships. Political theories 
are socially significant only in so far as they reflect and influence 
mass emotions and collective public behaviour. The gospel of the 
NSDAP is intelligible not in terms of the history of political ideas, 
but only as a manifestation of widespread emotional maladjustments 
in post-war German society. 

This circumstance suggests the desirability of beginning a pres- 
entation of the Nazi creed with an effort to ascertain what specific 
sources of tension gave rise to these maladjustments, how they were 
psychically resolved by the invention of a new political symbolism, 
and how this symbolism found a mass market. The intellectual 
techniques suggested by "economic determinism" and "psychoanaly- 

1 Cf. the author's article, "The Political Theory of German Fascism," American 
Political Science Review, April 1934, pp. 210-32, from which certain portions of the 
present chapter are taken. 


sis" furnish useful approaches to such an effort. 1 The rulers and 
thinkers of Fascist Germany regard it not merely as bad taste, but 
as high treason to suggest that political ideas are products of economic 
interests or of neuroses. The Nazi Weltanschauung repudiates his- 
torical materialism and psychiatry with equal vehemence. Its Hegel- 
ianism is qualified, however, by the circumstance that it views 
political and social ideas not as the children of Reason, but as the 
offspring of obscure subjective impulses. These impulses are em- 
phatically not to be explained by the pernicious doctrines of the 
Jew Karl Marx or of the Jew Sigmund Freud. They flow from "Blut 
und Boden" from nation and race, from individual genius and from 
the esoteric depths of the German soul. But to the western observer 
who finds in this mysticism more a symptom than a diagnosis of 
the political mentality of contemporary Germany, German Fascism 
is comprehensible only in terms of the economic difficulties and the 
psychic disorders of the post-war Kleinburgertum. 

That Nationalsocialism was derived from lower middle class and 
peasant circles rather than from the feudal nobility, the upper bour- 
geoisie, or the proletariat will be disputed by few observers even 
among the Nazis themselves. Neither will many deny the intimate 
relationship between the economic "interests" of social groups and 
their political attitudes and behaviour, however debatable may be 
the precise fashion in which this relationship should be formulated. 
But an initial doubt may well be raised as to the propriety and utility 
of injecting psychopathological concepts into the discussion of a 
political program. The high priests of the Nazi cult, to be sure, have 
repeatedly proclaimed themselves to be not only non-rational but 
0/i/i-rational. Anti-intellectualism and Blut gegen Geist (Spengler) 
are fundamental principles of Nationalsocialism. Hitler himself has 
always given feeling, emotion, fanaticism, and even hysteria pre- 
cedence over calm ratiocination. 2 But the psychopathological ap- 

1 For a typical Marxist approach to the problem, see F. David: 1st die NSDAP cine 
Sozialistische Part ft? (Vienna: Int. Arbeiter Verlag; 1933); for a typical Freudian 
approach, see Fedor Vcrgin; Das unbcwusste Europa; for an interesting synthesis of 
the two, see Ernst Ottwalt: Deufschland Erwachel Cf. also Wilhelm Reich: Massen- 
psychologie des Fascismus (Zurich, 1933). 

2 Cf. Mussolini in his article, "The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism," En- 
ciclopedia Italiano: "My own doctrine . . . has always been a doctrine of action. . . . 
Fascism was not the nursling of a doctrine worked out beforehand with detailed elabo- 
ration; it was born of the need for action and was itself from the beginning practical 
rather than theoretical; it was not merely another political party but, even in the first 


proach raises a general question which must at least be mentioned, 
even if it cannot be pursued here. Does the irrational character of 
Nationalsocialism mean that it differs in kind or only in degree from 
other political creeds and doctrines? Are other political attitudes 
and other patterns of political behaviour ever "rational"? Are not 
all political radicals "crazy" and perhaps reactionaries, conserva- 
tives, and liberals as well? Are western bourgeois liberalism, with 
its worship of reason and reasonableness, and proletarian Marxism, 
with its claim to "scientific" objectivity and precision, any less prod- 
ucts of the emotional tensions and maladjustments of social classes 
than Fascism? Is political behaviour in general ever sane, logical, 
and rational? 

These questions can scarcely be answered here. They involve 
fundamental problems of human personality structure which can- 
not be precisely formulated until psychiatry and political psychology 
have made further advances. But it is at least arguable that National- 
socialism merely exhibits in exaggerated and pathological form 
patterns of action which are inherent in all mass political behaviour. 
All collective human action is by definition emotionally motivated. 
All human societies are held together by shared emotions, by com- 
mon glandular and muscular responses to collective symbols, not 
by cold abstract intellect. Any social group acts effectively to the de- 
gree to which it acts unitedly and enthusiastically. Unity and en- 
thusiasm are functions of collective stimuli evoking intense and 
abiding collective reactions. Those political symbols and verbaliza- 
tions are most effective which elicit the most satisfying emotional 
responses. Whether they bear any rational relationship to the "in- 
terests" of the group in question, objectively conceived, is irrelevant, 
at least in the short run. "Interests" are never the basis of collective 
action until they are dramatized and emotionalized into symbols 
playing a major role in the transfer of private motives onto public 
objects. 1 All mass political behaviour is therefore intelligible not in 

two years, in opposition to all political parties and itself a living movement . . . [and] 
... a series of aphorisms, anticipations, and aspirations. . . . There was much discus- 
sion, but what was more important and more sacred men died. They knew how to 
die. Doctrine, beautifully defined and carefully elucidated, with headlines and para- 
graphs, might be lacking; but there was to take its place something more decisive- 

1 Cf. H. D. Lasswell: World Politics and Personal Insecurity (New York: McGraw- 
Hill; i935)> passim. 


terms of "reason," but only in terms of the mechanism of the con- 
ditioned reflex (Ivan Pavlov), of "kinesthetic substitutes" or "stereo- 
types" (Walter Lippmann), and of the processes of "non-logical 
inference" (Graham Wallas) or "non-logico-experimental" think- 
ing (Vilfredo Pareto). All political behaviour is in this sense im- 
pulsive or "non-rational." The only rational politics, consequently, 
is the art of conditioning emotional responses in a designated direc- 
tion and of manipulating the non-rational collective behaviour which 
results. An adequate science of politics must be a rationale of the 
non-rational. The clear and conscious realization of this fact, obvious 
but often forgotten by democrats, is no small part of the secret of 
success of the NSDAP. 

There still remains a question, however, as to the applicability of 
the concepts and terminology of psychiatry, which deals with the 
organization and disorganization of individual personality struc- 
ture, to the collective behaviour of social groups. Can a social class, 
no less than an individual, be said to undergo transformations of its 
collective personality in such a fashion as to justify describing the 
result in terms applicable to individual personality disorders? A 
collective neurosis is an aggregation of individual neuroses which, 
however, are resolved in a fashion differing from that which would 
be employed in the absence of the widespread prevalence in the 
community of identical or similar emotional maladjustments. An 
individual is said to be afflicted with a neurosis (or with a psychosis, 
when the whole personality structure is involved) when he makes 
emotional adjustments to his environment of a type leading to irra- 
tional attitudes (as distinct from normal "impulsive" or "non-ra- 
tional" reactions) or to behaviour socially unacceptable in the com- 
munity. These adjustments may take the form of a "retreat from 
reality" into delusions and hallucinations. They often express them- 
selves in overt behaviour annoying or injurious to others. Even in 
"normal" behaviour individuals necessarily react to their environ- 
ment in terms of their own personality structures that is, "objective" 
facts are meaningful only for their "subjective" significance. The 
community's criteria of rationality and acceptability are products 
of the whole cultural context. An individual is judged to be psy- 
chopathic on the basis of the accepted attitudes and norms of con- 
duct. The "sane" people of the community incarcerate the "insane" 


in institutions or otherwise subject them to restraining or remedial 

But an emotionally unstable individual does not necessarily achieve 
an adjustment which is unique to himself and relevant exclusively 
to his own personality structure. If he lives in a community in which 
large numbers of his fellows suffer from comparable emotional mal- 
adjustments, a "solution" may take a collective form. The various 
individuals comprising the group may reintegrate their disordered 
personalities not through individual behaviour judged to be insane, 
but through collective behaviour judged to be quite sane by all others 
similarly afflicted. In this case, adjustment takes the form of identi- 
fication with group symbols which evoke the requisite integrating 
emotional responses among large numbers of people, thereby pro- 
moting cohesion in the group as a whole and at the same time af- 
fording to each individual in the group an opportunity for the 
emotional reorientation demanded by his own psychic difficulties. 
Collective delusions and collective persecution of scapegoats play 
the role of uniquely individualized hallucinations. Here private per- 
sonality disorders are expressed and in part resolved by the mechan- 
ism of public symbols. When such symbols are born of private neu- 
roses many times multiplied in a given society and are utilized by 
manipulators to produce collective behaviour designed to influence 
the existing relationships of power, the result may not inaccurately 
be described as collective political insanity. If such a psychopatho- 
logical mass movement gains power, the "insane" majority incar- 
cerates or punishes the "sane" minority. But insanity does not become 
sanity by virtue of being universalized, except in the view of its vic- 
tims. This process suggests in brief the social and psychological dy- 
namics of Nationalsocialism and also of many other political 
movements bred of collective emotional maladjustments. 1 

What, then, were the elements in the situation of the German 
post-war Kleinburgertum which led to the emergence within it of 
the gospel of the NSDAP and predisposed its members in large 
numbers to organize themselves emotionally around the symbols and 
slogans of Nationalsocialism ? It may be noted at the outset that this 

1 Cf. Caroline S. Plaync: The Neuroses of the Nations (London, 1925); H. D. Lass- 
well, op. cit., and Psychopathology and Politics (Chicago, 1931); S. D. Schmalhau- 
scn: The "New Road to Progress (New York, 1934). Cf. pp. 227-9 below on Communist 
and Social Democratic neuroses. 


group has tended to grow in relative size in all twentieth-century 
industrial communities. The Marxist prediction of the reduction of 
the lower middle class to the economic level of wages-earners and its 
absorption into the proletariat has nowhere been fulfilled. On the 
contrary, technological improvements have tended to reduce the rela- 
tive number of wage-earners as their individual productivity has been 
increased. The number of salaried employees, salesmen, advertisers, 
middlemen, retailers, engineers, professional people, small stockhold- 
ers, etc. has tended to increase (in the proportion to the number of 
manual workers) in almost all lines of production, including agri- 
culture. This tendency has been accelerated in recent decades as 
markets have shrunk and entrepreneurs have devoted proportion- 
ately more energy to distribution than to production. In Germany, 
even long before the war, the proportion of gainfully occupied per- 
sons in the ranks of the proletariat has slowly declined in relation to 
salaried employees, officials, salesmen, etc. By 1925 almost half of the 
total of the gainfully occupied persons consisted not of industrial 
wage-earners, but of small traders, professional people, salaried em- 
ployees, officials, handicraft workers, and middle and small peasants. 
If employees and public officials alone be considered, they increased 
from one million in 1882 to more than five million in 1925 that is, 
from 6.4 per cent of the gainfully occupied to 16.5 per cent. 1 The 
number of salaried employees per thousand manual workers increased 
in Germany more rapidly than in any other industrial country: from 
82 in 1907 to 154 in 1925 in industry; from 41 to 75 in mining and 
quarrying; and from 252 to 994 in transportation. 2 

What was the economic position in German society of this large, 
growing, and somewhat amorphous class in the post-war period as 
compared with the pre-war period ? Even before the war its income 
and social position were declining (relatively) as it increased in num- 
bers. It was becoming "proletarianized" and was casting about for 

1 Cf. F. David: 1st die NSDAP cine socialistische Partei? p. 3: Angestclhc und Beamte 
in Deutschland, 1882 1,077,000 (6.4 per cent der Erwerbstatigen)^ 1895 1,972,000 
(10 percent); 1907 3,157,000 (12.5 percent); 1925 5,274,000 (16.5 percent). 

2 These figures are taken from Hans Speier: "The Salaried Employee in Modern 
Society," Social Research, February 1934* PP- m-33 where additional statistical 
data, coupled with a suggestive analysis, are to be found. For more detailed treat- 
ments of the status and psychology of the Kleinbilrgertum , see Werner Sombart; 
Der Bourgeois; zur Geistesgeschichte des modernen Wirtschajtsmenschen ..(Munich: 
Duncker & Humblot; 1913); Theodore Geiger: Die soziale Schichtung des deutschen 
Voltes (Stuttgart: Enke; 1932); S. Kracauer: Die Angestellten (Frankfurt, 1930)- 


ways and means of maintaining its sense of superiority over manual 
workers. It probably suffered more heavily, psychologically and 
materially, from the post-war inflation than any other single group. 
The organized proletariat could slowly and with difficulty, to be 
sure force up wages to meet rising prices. At least there were jobs in 
the fevered, speculative "prosperity" which throve on the printing 
presses. And the proletariat, in any case, had less to lose than the 
Kleinbiirgertum. Agrarian landowners, noble and peasant, profited 
from rising food prices and could pay off mortgages with cheap 
money. The upper bourgeoisie was in general able to protect itself 
by hedging operations and in some cases enriched itself enormously. 
A few small business men, shopkeepers, traders, and professional 
people indulged in masterly speculative ventures and became wealthy 
"inflation profiteers," climbing up over the mountains of paper marks 
into the upper bourgeoisie. But in general the Kleinbiirgertum bore 
the brunt of loss and suffering. The salaries of unorganized employees 
tended to rise so slowly in proportion to prices that hundreds of thou- 
sands of middle-class families were reduced to poverty. Professional 
people, especially those in public service, suffered similarly, as did the 
millions of national, state, and local government employees. People 
living on pensions, annuities, rents, interest payments, etc., saw the 
purchasing power of their incomes approach the vanishing-point. By 
1924 millions of petty-bourgeois families found themselves in a state 
of economic desperation. 

Then came stabilization, an influx of foreign capital, a partial re- 
covery of foreign markets, and five years of comparative prosperity. 
By 1928 the Kleinbiirgertum was again well off, or at least hopeful 
as to its economic future. The distribution of the German national 
income in 1928, the year of maximum prosperity preceding the Great 
Depression, suggests the degree of prosperity to which the middle 
classes had attained. If receivers of income be grouped into three 
classes, the German income pyramid was as follows: 


Distribution of German Monetary Income in 1928 l 


No. of Per Cent of All 
Recipients Recipients 

Under 1,200 RM 
Over 25,000 








Total Income 

20,577,000,000 RM. 

Per Cent 
of Total 



31,221,000 100.0 72,677,000,000 RM. 100.0 

These income groups do not, of course, correspond with any degree 
of precision to class categories, since in German society there are 
numerous criteria of social status other than income. But the bulk of 
the Kleinburgertum and of the more well-to-do rural landowners 
were certainly to be found in the middle income group. It likewise 
seems permissible to assume that the great majority of wage-earners 
that is, the proletariat were in the first group and that most of the 
aristocrats of land and of industry, commerce, and finance were in 
the third group. The individual members of the moneyed elite, de- 
fined as those with incomes of over 25,000 marks, had average incomes 
of 67,000 marks. Those of the poorest group each secured a little 
more than a thousand marks annually. The moderately well-to-do 
had average incomes of almost 3,700 marks. This group, moreover, 
was considerably better off than it was before the war and seemed in 

1 Compiled from figures in Statistisches Jahrbuch fur das Deutsche Reich, 1932, p. 527. 
Comparisons with the pre-war distribution of income are difficult, because of the dif- 
ferent bases of the statistics. In 1913, however, the distribution (ibid., p. 527) was as 

No. of Per Cent of All 
Recipients Recipients 

Total Income 

Under 900 RM. 
Over 16,500 


11,219,000 47.5 8,348,000,000 RM. 

12,228,000 52.0 23,484,000,000 

103,000 .5 5,268,000,000 

23,550,000 100.0 37,100,000,000 RM. 

Per Cent of 
Total Income 



A comparison of the two tables possibly justifies the conclusions that between 1913 
and 1928 the poor became more numerous, less poor in terms of money income, but 
actually poorer in terms of real income when higher price levels are taken into account; 
that the very rich became fewer and richer; and that the moderately well-to-do became 
slightly more numerous and were appreciably more prosperous. Cf. also J. W. Angell: 
The Recovery of Germany (New Haven: Yale University Press; 1929). 


1928 to be advancing steadily toward greater material well-being and 
economic security. 

The impact of the Great Depression abruptly changed this situa- 
tion. By 1932 the national income had fallen to 48,067,000,000 marks, 
as compared with 72,677,000,000 in I928. 1 Changes in the distribution 
of the total among the various income groups cannot be compiled 
from conveniently available data. But it is clear that in Germany, as 
elsewhere, the industrial proletariat suffered most from unemploy- 
ment and wage reductions and that the very rich suffered least. In 
deflation as in inflation the Klcinbtirgertum was the most defenceless 
group and therefore the hardest hit. Wage-earners had trade unions 
and public unemployment insurance to keep them from starvation 
and, having risen only a little way above the poverty line, fell back 
toward it acquiescently. The very wealthy could afford heavy losses 
without personal deprivation and could push off a large part of the 
burden of deflation onto other groups through the exercise of eco- 
nomic power and political influence. The Kleinbiirgertum, however, 
was pinched between organized labour 'and corporate industry and 
paid the piper without calling the tune. Many of its members were 
to be found among the growing ranks of the unemployed, which 
swelled from 1,906,000 (monthly average) in 1929 to 4,565,000 
(monthly average) in 1931, 6,042,000 in January 1932, and 6,014,000 
in January 1933. The index of industrial production fell from 100.4 
in 1929 to 58.5 (its low point) in August 1932. This meant declining 
profits and smaller dividends on corporate shares, which decreased 
sharply in value as the slump wore on. The decline in industrial 
production was less severe in Germany than in the United States, but 
more severe than in England and France. The German price index 
fell from 137.2 (1933=100) in 1929 to 100 in January 1932 and to 
90.7 (the low point) in April I933- 2 

The progressive economic deprivations of the Kiel nburgcr turn 
after 1929 constituted the decisive factor in creating a mass market 
for the brand of salvation peddled by the drummers of the NSDAP. 
There were many other considerations, to be noted presently, which 
predisposed the German middle classes and the peasantry to embrace 

1 Statistisches ]ahrbuch ftir das Deutsche Reich, 1933, p. 494. 

2 The fall here was less severe than in the United States, Great Britain, or France. 
These and many other comparative indices of the depression arc to be found in 
Deutschlands Wirtscha\tlichc Entu/ic^lung im crstcn Halbjahr, 1913 (Berlin: Rcichs- 
Krcdit-Gescllschaft Akt.; 1933). 


the new gospel, but these factors were not controlling. They had been 
present for a decade or more and were of diminishing rather than 
increasing importance after 1928. Loss of material income was more 
important for its social and psychological effects than for its actual 
economic consequences. People who are desperately impoverished 
do not ordinarily rebel or protest effectively. They are too demoralized 
and disintegrated, as individuals and as a group, to possess the capac- 
ity for collective action. The German Kleinburgertum was not in this 
position. It probably suffered less economically than corresponding 
groups in Great Britain and the United States, but its consciousness 
of suffering induced by non-economic factors was greater. Its mem- 
bers were not as a group reduced to anything approaching starvation. 
Its consumption of beer, cigars, and Konditorwaren declined appre- 
ciably, but it is doubtful whether the ample waistline of the average 
burgher or the generous proportions of his wife shrank by very much. 
It is arguable that had the Kleinbiirgertum been more impoverished 
or less impoverished, it would have acquiesced in its new status. 
But it was sufficiently impoverished to become acutely resentful and 
not sufficiently impoverished to prevent it from resisting and giving 
effective expression to its bitterness. 

Material deprivation was less galling than the ubiquitous sense of 
social degradation. Millions of middle-class families felt themselves 
being pushed down to the level of the proletariat. A class occupying 
a middle position in the social hierarchy usually develops more re- 
sentments and aggressions as a result of being depressed to an inferior 
social status than a class which is already at the bottom of the social 
scale and is further impoverished by economic adversity. It is a 
general characteristic of the lower middle class in all modern indus- 
trial societies that it is an ill-defined group poised in a state of unstable 
equilibrium between the social strata above and below it. Its members 
identify themselves with the social elite of the upper bourgeoisie and 
the nobility and "look down upon" manual wage-earners and farm- 
ers. They aspire toward eventual entrance into the aristocracy of 
money if not for themselves, then at least for their sons and daugh- 
ters. "Progress" and "prosperity" are everywhere the shibboleths of 
this group. The "self-made man" who acquires wealth through busi- 
ness initiative and thrift is its idol. Its amorphousness, its anomalous 
social position, and its frequent cultural poverty are compensated for 
by a restless dynamism driving it toward business achievement. 


"Security" in its established social position is less dear to it than the 
possibility of advancement and improvement in its status. 1 Nothing 
could be more appalling to enterprising burghers than the frustration 
of economic ambitions, the closing of avenues of opportunity, and 
the prospect of being degraded to a proletarian level of poverty from 
which there can be no escape. Emotional readjustment is rendered 
difficult by the circumstance that the new situation which must be 
accepted is, by definition, an unstable, "crisis" situation, the per- 
manency of which cannot be assumed. Things must get either better 
or worse. When they fail to get better it is assumed that they must 
get worse. Given these conditions over a sufficiently long period of 
time, the result is the disorganization of innumerable personalities, 
the accumulation of explosive social tensions and aggressions, and the 
development of neuroses and psychoses which find collective expres- 
sion in "abnormal" fads and fancies and strange creeds and cults. 

Without anchor, rudder, or compass, the hopelessly insecure "solid 
citizens" of post-war Germany drifted perilously on troubled seas. 
The id-drives of the Kleinbiirgertum, denied normal and satisfying 
expression by material and psychic impoverishment, expressed them- 
selves in forbidden ways. The inhibitions of the super-ego were 
weakened. Sin became fashionable. But the puritan conscience of 
Lutheranism and Prussianism rebelled. Its unconscious protest against 
the violations of its imperatives was the stronger because its audible 
voice was stilled. These indulgences, therefore, brought no healthy 
animal satisfactions, no surcease from anxiety, no reintegration of 
personality on a new level of freedom, but only dark guilt-feelings 
engendering new anxieties and demanding punishment: masochistic 
self-punishment or sadistic punishment of others as scapegoats. And, 
as so frequently happens in neuroses, the psychic satisfactions derived 
from punishing sin became an unconscious motive for sinning. Moral 
offences had to be committed in order that they might be expiated 
by self-torture or by the torture of others. Devils had to be invented in 
order that they might be beaten. Only in this fashion could morality, 

1 For interesting presentations of petty-bourgeois psychology, sec Thorstein Vcblcn: 
The Theory of the Leisure Class; Hans Fallada: Little Man, What Now? and Lion 
Feuchtwanger: The Oppcrmanns (on the German-Jewish middle class). Sinclair 
Lewis's Babbitt is an American counterpart. A more sympathetic treatment of certain 
aspects of business class values is to be found in Rotary? (University of Chicago Press, 


self -righteousness, and Kultur be attained once more by the Tann- 
hausers and Parsivals of the new age of chaos. 

The degradation of its symbols of patriotism likewise contributed 
powerfully to the pathological mentality of the German middle class. 
Where political unification has been belatedly attained, where na- 
tional unity is menaced by survivals of particularism, bourgeois re- 
sponses to patriotic symbols are likely to be peculiarly intense and 
insistent because of their very insecurity. When in such a community 
long-cherished national expectations are frustrated, the resultant cas- 
tration phobia is likely to be peculiarly acute and to express itself in 
militant chauvinistic fanaticism for example, post-war Italy, Japan, 
and Poland. These qualities could already be detected in pre-war 
German patriotism. 1 The war for "a place in the sun," the war of 
glorious victories, ended in defeat, the amputation by the enemy of 
various parts of the Fatherland, and the reduction of the Fatherland 
to impotence. The Weimar republic afforded no adequate channels 
for a discharge of the resulting resentments and no means for the 
recovery of national "honour." Man lives by faith rather than by 
bread. The most potent modern faith is patriotism. To attack it and 
to deprive its devotees of an opportunity to enjoy the emotional satis- 
factions which it affords is to sow seeds of fury. Here were new hates 
the elemental hate for the enemy of home and hearth, the infantile 
hate for those injuring the motherland. The enforced repression of 
these hates engendered new guilt-feelings demanding expiation and 

An additional deprivation was involved in the absence of a strong 
State authority which patriotic burghers could respect and obey. 
Deeply embedded in German culture were the habits of blind obedi- 
ence and goose-stepping, the reverence for the drill sergeant, the 
Hegelian worship of the State. One could not worship, obey, or 
reverence the Weimar republic. It was born of defeat and grew up 
in disgrace. Its mother was the feeble daughter of domestic liberalism. 
Its father was Woodrow Wilson and the detested "democracy'* in 
the name of which the hypocritical Allies had waged relentless war 
on the Rciqh. Weimar presented liberty to a people historically con- 
ditioned to desire despotism. Weimar presented democracy to a 
people conditioned to worship feudal absolutism. Weimar presented 

1 For a "mother-fixation" interpretation of nationalism, sec Fcdor Vergin: Das unbe- 
wusste Euro pa, pp. 121-9. 


peace to a people which owed its very existence as a nation to militar- 
ism and war. Weimar offered to patriotic infantilism neither adequate 
mother-symbols nor adequate father-symbols. The motherland was 
in disgrace unfruitful, unloved, and dishonoured. The Hohen- 
zollern patriarch-kings were gone. The Hindcnburg myth was a 
feeble substitute. To a patriotism which was impotent and castrated 
the phallic symbol of the bloody sword was necessarily an emblem of 
salvation and recovered strength. The Kleinburgertum yearned for 
what was hard, well armoured, even brutal to disguise and forget 
its own weakness. It received only admonitions to reasonableness 
and impoverishment. It asked for a stone; it was not even given 

The deep hunger for militarist mysticism in the turgid depths of 
the German soul likewise contributed to the post-war neurosis. The 
war years left unhealed wounds. The millions who saw blood and 
death in the trenches did not return as pacifists. The forbidden but 
sanctified pleasures of mass murder wei too keenly relished. Death- 
fears and guilt-feelings were transmuted into a highly enjoyable cult 
of "heroism" and admiration for that which had furnished oppor- 
tunities for permissible sins and crimes. But guilt persisted and 
demanded blood absolution through violence and death. The uncon- 
scious terror of a generation of soldiers who had escaped destruction 
expressed itself in a cult of hero-mythology. The new post-war gen- 
eration was nourished on war-dream fantasies. Its members aspired 
to the stature of the brave front-fighters who were fathers and 
brothers. Here was the psychological genesis of the Freicorps, the 
Kampfbunde, the Feme murderers, the military fanfare, and the 
hero-reverence of a nation deprived of an opportunity to be heroic. 

This analysis might be carried much farther, but this will suffice to 
suggest the pattern of the psychological malady of which National- 
socialism became the chief symptom. The maladjustments of other 
classes were likewise important: the resentment of pious, thrifty, and 
debt-ridden peasants at urban creditors, bankers, atheists, and liberals; 
the disillusionment of proletarians with Marxist leaders whose 
promises of revolution, socialization, and salvation camejto nothing; 
the disgust of bankrupt Junkers at a State in which aristocrats and 
soldiers were at the mercy of democratic politicians; the feelings of 
social and economic insecurity among the upper bourgeoisie. But 
fundamentally the disorder was a disease of the Kleinburgertum. 


This group suffered from acute paranoia, with all its typical delusions 
of persecution and systematic hallucinations of grandeur. In Hitler it 
found at last an articulate voice. In the Weltanschauung of the 
NSDAP it found solace for all its woes, forgiveness for all its sins, 
justification for all its hatreds, scapegoats for all its misfortunes, and 
a millennial vision for all its hopes. 


ANTI-SEMITISM was genetically the foundation of the whole ideologi- 
cal superstructure of Nationalsocialism. It has long since become the 
cornerstone of the edifice of which the myth of Nordic supremacy 
is the crown and the cult of pan-German militarist megalomania is 
the banner flying over the roof. Long before Hitler was born, the Jew 
was the target of numerous resentments and animosities throughout 
central and eastern Europe. Religious anti-Semitism in Germany 
dates back to Martin Luther and to the Catholic Middle Ages. Mod- 
ern racial anti-Semitism was from the outset the device whereby the 
antagonisms of an exploited and depressed Kleinburgertiim toward 
capitalism were deflected away from the ruling classes onto a defence- 
less scapegoat. 

The emancipation of German Jewry, begun by Napoleon in the 
Rhineland, was not completed until after 1848. Politically organized 
anti-Semitism became active as soon as the lower middle classes began 
to be pinched economically between corporate business and organized 
labour. 1 Adolf Stacker's Christlich-Soziale Arbeiterpartei flourished 
in Prussia in the eighties. 2 Religious, moral, and economic complaints 
against the Jews led eventually to the emergence of a racial myth 
reflected in the attitudes of the Deutschsoziale Partei and the Anti- 
semitische Volkspartei, both established in i889. 3 By 1893 there were 
sixteen anti-Semitic deputies in the Reichstag. Various anti-Semitic 
political groups have been continuously represented in the German 
parliament ever since. 

1 Cf. E. Ottwalt: Deutschland Erwache! pp. 42-72, and G. Winter: Der Antisemitis- 
mus in Dcuts&dand (Magdeburg: Salinger; 1896). 

2 W. Frank: Hofpredigcr Adolf Stacker und die Christlich-Soziale Bewcgung (Berlin: 
Robbing; 1928). 

3 Cf. Eugen Diihring: Die Judenfrage ah Frage des Rassencharafyers (Berlin: Reuther; 
1892; reissued Leipzig: Rcisland; 1930). Also Kurt Wawrzinek: Die Entstchung der 
deutschen Antisemiten-Partcien (Berlin: Ebering; 1927). 


Hitler, it will be recalled, acquired his anti-Semitic fixation in pre- 
war Vienna without being at all familiar with these developments in 
northern Germany. The anti-Semitic motif was prominent in all of 
his speeches during the period between the establishment of the party 
and its temporary eclipse in 1923.* It also dominated the Deutsch- 
volkische Freiheitspartei of von Graefe, Wiille, and Hennig. Nazi 
appeals were addressed from the beginning to a Klein burger turn 
filled with resentment against Capital and Labour, the upper and 
nether millstones of an economic system which seemed to be grind- 
ing the German "forgotten man" into the dust. This resentment 
found voice in attacks upon "Capitalism" and upon "Marxism." 
Trusts and trade unions were both assailed as iniquitous and "unpa- 
triotic." With consummate skill the Nazi leaders, in their quest on 
the one hand for funds from Big Business and on the other for 
converts from the middle classes, resolved the logical inconsistencies 
in this double resentment by deflecting it against the Jew. The nation, 
they asserted, was not menaced by a socially minded, patriotic Ger- 
man capitalism nor by a patriotic German socialism, but only by 
international Jewish Hochfinanz and by international, Jewish-Marxist 
socialism. Under Nazi persuasion the Kleinburgertum perceived that 
all the things it had come to detest pacifism, internationalism, Marx- 
ism, Freemasonry, Esperanto, nudism, reparations, democracy, in- 
flation, liberalism, sexual immorality were all but phases of a Jewish 
plot against the Fatherland. The integration of these divergent nega- 
tive responses into a general assault upon the Weimar republic 
through their ideological unification in anti-Semitism is the most 
brilliant psychological achievement of Nazi propaganda. 

This process was accompanied by the elaboration of a highly 
ingenious theory of a Jewish world conspiracy against the "white" 
race. The specific content of this theory varies somewhat with the 
Nazi sources which are consulted. 2 Many of the charges are based 
upon the Protocols of the Elders of Zionf a mysterious document 
supposedly prepared as a campaign plan of Jewish world conquest. 
This curious publication apparently first appeared in Moscow in 1905 

1 Cf. Adolf Hitlers Redcn (Munich: Bocpplc; 1933), containing the Leader's speeches 

of this period. 

2 Perhaps the most erudite exposition of this thesis is to be found in Alfred Rosenberg's 

Der Mythos des 20. ]ahrhnndert$ (Munich: Hoheneichen; 1930). 

s Gottfried zur Beck (Hrsg.): Die Gcheimnisse dcr Weiscn von Zion (Munich: Eher; 

I5thed., 1933)- 


as an appendix to a book by one Sergius Nilus, entitled The Great in 
the Little or Antichrist as an Immediate Political Possibility. It pur- 
ported to be the minutes of a secret meeting of the leaders of Jewry in 
the autumn of 1897. They had met during the first Zionist congress 
in Basle to plot the eventual conquest of the world by the sons of 
Israel. The "minutes," it was shown later, had been in part copied 
almost verbatim from A Dialogue in Hades between Machiavelli and 
Montesquieu, an anti-Masonic and anti-Bonapartist pamphlet pub- 
lished in Paris in 1868 by Maurice Joly with "Jews" substituted for 
"Masons" and "Bonapartists." The remainder was taken from a 
fanciful novel, Biarritz, also published in 1868 by one Goedsche (John 
Retcliff). It described how the princes of the twelve tribes of Israel 
met once a century in the Jewish cemetery in Prague to deliberate 
upon measures to establish Jewish world domination. 

In Nazi literature the Jews are usually depicted as a hybrid 
Oriental-Negro stock which for thousands of years has practised 
incest (endogamy) to keep itself "pure" and has at the same time 
sought to poison the blood of superior races through miscegenation. 1 
Since its expulsion from Palestine this race has lived as a parasite on 
other peoples, practising the ritual murder of Christian children, 
destroying the race purity of its victims, and seeking in every way to 
bring about the destruction of the host upon which it preys. In 
modern times its primary weapons have been prostitution and 
syphilis, the liberal press, intermarriage, Freemasonry, parliamentary 
democracy, international finance, and Bolshevism. 2 More specifically, 
the Jews, through their alleged control of the labour movement, the 
Bourse, the Socialist Party, etc., are held responsible for Germany's 
defeat in the Great War and for the establishment of the "Jew 
Republic" of the "November criminals" of 1918. All of Germany's 
woes since the armistice are likewise attributed to the Jews. 3 The 

1 Cf. Hitler: Mein Kampf, p. 357. 

2 In the Bavarian and Thuringian Diets legislative proposals were at one time intro- 
duced by Nazi deputies to have all unsolved murders treated as Jewish ritual murders. 
Cf. Mein Kampf, pp. 270-5, 386-7, 351 f., etc.; Anton Mcister: Die Presse als Macht- 
mittel Jtidus (N. S. Bibliothck, No. 18); Rudolf: Nationdsozialismtis und Rasse 
(N. S. B. No. 31), p. 51; Alfred Rosenberg: Das Vcrbrecken der Trcimatircrei (Munich: 
Hohcneichen; 1921); Fricdrich Wichtl: Wehfreimaurerei, Weltrevoltition, Weltre- 
publik (Munich: Lehmann; 1919); Gottfried Fcder: Die ]nden (N. S. B. No. 45); 
Dietrich Eckart: Dcr Bolscheivismtts von Moses bis Lenin (Munich, 1919). 

3 Alfred Rosenberg; Die Entwicf^lung der dcutschen Freiheitsbewegung (Munich: 
Ehcr; 1933); Johann von Leers: 14 Jahre Judenrepubli^ (2 vols.; Berlin: NS-Druck 
and Verlag; 1933). 


ultimate objective of Judaism is the complete destruction of the 
German people through bastardization, pacificism, liberalism, and 
Communism. 1 

These hallucinations cannot be rendered intelligible by an analysis 
of the post-war position of the Jews in German society. 2 The fact 
that many Jews had attained prominence in business, banking, medi- 
cine, law, literature, journalism, and the theatre made them a more 
effective target of the Nazi attack, but had nothing to do with the 
genesis of the attack itself. This point cannot be too strongly empha- 
sized, in view of the disposition of lay observers, unable to perceive 
that they are here dealing with psychopathic phenomena, to persist 
in believing that where there is so much smoke there must be some 
fire. 3 The fire is indeed there, but its sources are wholly divorced 
from the position or conduct of those being burned. Clever rational- 
izations of race prejudice, and persecution can never render these 
types of behaviour "rational." In the present instance, rationality 
and intellectualism have themselves been repeatedly condemned by 
the persecutors as fiendish devices of their victims and further evi- 
dences of Jewish wickedness. 

Nazi anti-Semitism is precisely as rational that is, as amenable 
to discussion within the framework of a scientific logic based upon 
observable and verifiable relationships of causation as witch-burn- 
ing, head-hunting, voodooism, or any other type of primitive magic 
and sadism. The victims are persecuted to appease the unconscious 
guilt-feelings of the persecutors and to afford a convenient discharge 
for aggressions in a direction relatively harmless to the established 
social order. This is not to say that the Jews of the Reich were uni- 
formly virtuous, law-abiding, and socially desirable citizens. There 
were doubtless as many persons among the Jews addicted to anti- 
social types of behaviour as in any other group of the population. But 
the vices and crimes of the Jews, real or imaginary, had not a logical 
but a pathological relationship to the anti-Semitism of the NSDAP. 
Nazi Jew-baiting achieves an emotionally satisfying solution of indi- 
vidual personality difficulties and of the psychic disorders of the 
entire Kleinburgertum. It likewise furnishes a device for the emo- 

1 Hitler, in Mein Kampf, pp. 310 ft., traces through in detail the consecutive steps of the 
Jewish world conspiracy, culminating in the Communist World Revolution. 

2 Cf . pp. 316-18 below. 

8 See, for example, E. Alexander Powell: The Long Roll on the Rhine (New York: 
Macmillan; 1934), pp. 85-109. 


tional unification of the group infected with the anti-Semitic virus. 
The Jew merely happened to be the most convenient whipping-boy. 
In a slightly different context equally- satisfying results could have 
been achieved by persecuting all people with red hair or with pug 
noses or with long (or round) skulls. 


THE first prerequisite to the protection of Germany from the Jewish 
menace is the awakening of "race consciousness" among her people. 
In the course of its development the Nazi doctrine of race, as a 
positive creed of German superiority, has passed through many vicis- 
situdes. The program of 1920 did not employ the now universal term 
"Aryan," but spoke only of "German blood" and "Vol1(sgenossen? 
The same is true of Feder's Dcr dcutsche Staat, which Hitler pro- 
nounced the "catechism" of the movement at the time of its publica- 
tion in 1923. Hitler, in Mein Kampj, used the term "Aryan" repeatedly 
without giving it precise definition. Rosenberg is a champion of 
blond, blue-eyed Nordicism, but his doctrine was scarcely acceptable 
to such obvious brunets as Hitler and Goebbels. 

The Aryan myth, with its corollary of Teutonic superiority, was 
first persuasively presented in 1852 by Comte Arthur de Gobineau in 
his Essai sur Vinegalite des races hurnaines. Richard Wagner became 
one of the most ardent proponents of Gobineau's theories in Germany. 
Wagner's friend Theodor Schemann founded the Gobineaitvereini- 
gang in 1890 for the publication in German of the Frenchman's 
works. In 1899 the Germanized Englishman Houston Stewart Cham- 
berlain published Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, 
which also affirmed the superiority of the Germans, but defined them 
by moral qualities rather than by physical characteristics. This method 
of definition led to the interesting discovery that Dante, Marco Polo, 
St. Francis, Giotto, Michelangelo, Bacon, Lavoisier, and Louis XIV 
were also Germans. These two works were points of departure for 
all later advocates of white superiority and Nordic supremacy. That 
a Frenchman and a Briton should first have demonstrated that the 
Germans are the cream of the race is regarded merely as another 
evidence of the correctness of the Nazi Weltanschauung. 

Since 1930 the enormous Nazi literature dealing with race prob- 
lems has exhibited a fair degree of uniformity, thanks to the work 


of Hans Gunther, appointed Professor of Social Anthropology at the 
University of Jena by Minister Frick. In the evolution of the Aryan 
myth Gunther is the successor of Gobineau and Chamberlain. In his 
voluminous writings, 1 he depicts the Germans as a blend of six 
"races": Nordic, Westic, Dinaric, Ostic, Baltic, and Falic. The Nordic 
element, constituting less than eight per cent of the population, has 
been decimated by war, emigration, and tuberculosis, but it is the 
most valuable biological strain in the nation. It is probable, according 
to Gunther, that all creative cultural endeavour in all ages was the 
work of a minority blessed with Nordic blood. This assumption 
leads to the interesting conclusion that the ancient Egyptians and 
Greeks, as well as the modern Japanese, must at one time or another 
have enjoyed an infiltration of Nordic blood. Every effort must be 
made, through race hygiene and eugenics, not only to protect the 
nation from the "Jewish ferment of decomposition," but to increase 
the proportion of Nordic stock in the population. Gunther's ideas 
have constituted a point of departure for % a whole army of scholars 
who have propounded his gospel in a bewildering variety of works. 2 
The political implications of the new anthropology have furnished 
the ideological basis for many of the proposals of the NSDAP. The 
original party program called for the disfranchisement and expatria- 
tion of Jews (Points 4 and 5), the granting of official appointments 
only to citizens (Point 6), a ban on non-German immigration and 
the expulsion of all non-Germans who entered the Reich after August 
2, 1914 (Point 8), and the expulsion of the Jews from journalism 
(Point 23). The Nazi State is conceived to be a "racial" State whose 
first care should be the racial purity of its citizens. 3 Walter Darre 
once proposed that all German women be divided into four classes: 
only the first, consisting of pure Nordics, would be permitted to 
marry the new noblemen of the Third Reich; those of the second 
class might be qualified to marry after a period of probation; third- 
class women might marry inferior men, but the husbands must be 
sterilized to prevent procreation; fourth-class women might neither 

1 Der Nordischc GedanJ^e unter den Deutschen; Rassenfymde Europas; Russen^unde 
dcs dcutschen Voltes; Rasscnlyindc des judischen Voltes; Add und Rasse; etc. (Munich: 
Lehmann; 1927 ff.) 

2 See the catalogue of Lchmanns Verlag, Munich. 

8 Cf. Rudolf Rocbling: "Staat und Vol^' in Hochschulc fur PoUti\ dcr N.S.D.A.P. 
J. Wagner and A. Beck, Hrsg., (Munich: Lehmann; 1933); cf. Mcin Kampj, p. 445. 


marry nor have children. 1 Darre is representative of that large school 
of Nazi theorists who perceive peculiar racial virtues in the peas- 
antry, derived mysteriously from close contact with the soil. As in all 
primitive peasant fetishism, blood and soil are invested with magic 
qualities. "Blood-feeling" or the "instinct of blood" is the source of 
all virtue and wisdom. Alfred Rosenberg, in his Mythos des 20. 
]ahrhunderts, urged polygamy for the Nordic nobility, on eugenic 
grounds. He further essayed an elaborate racial interpretation of 

The race myth plays the same role in the Nazi cult of racial national- 
ism as the class myth plays in the Marxian world outlook. The new 
Germany envisages world history as a conflict between races. The 
white or "Aryan" race is the source of all culture, the Negro is an 
inferior breed, and the Jew, as another representative of Unter- 
menschentum or sub-humanity, is the source of all corruption. The 
Germans represent the highest point of Aryan development. Among 
the Germans the "Nordic" element is the most valuable. Germans 
must insist upon "honour," "freedom," and "equality of rights" with 
the victors of 191 8. 2 The pan-German "racial State" of the future must 
include within its borders all German-speaking peoples of Europe. 
It must follow the heroic traditions of the Teutonic knights and win 
land in the east to ensure its future. This task demands the spiritual 
unification of the nation and the passionate devotion of all Germans 
to the new work of racial regeneration. 


IN THE literature and propaganda of the NSDAP, as much emphasis 
has been given to its "socialist" character as to its "national" aspira- 
tions. The Nazi use of the word "socialism," like the use of the terms 
"freedom," "race," "honour" and "equality of rights" is likely to 

1 Walter Darre: Neuadcl aus Blut and Bodcn (Munich: Lehmann; 1930). 

2 The magic potency of the words "Ehre" and "Gleichbercchtigting" among the Na- 
tionalsocialist Kleinbiirgcrtttm is not unrelated to the circumstance that most of the 
Nazi leaders and a great majority of their followers, as members of a social class suf- 
fering from lack of prestige, are afflicted with unconscious inferiority-feelings. These 
feelings have been transferred to the symbols of race and nation and find expression in 
discrimination against the Jews, in the prevalent national "persecution complex," and 
in chauvinistic braggadocio. 


appear somewhat peculiar to western minds. "Socialism" is ordinarily 
understood to imply a greater degree of public ownership and opera- 
tion of economic enterprises and a greater share in political power on 
the part of labour than prevail under "capitalism." This meaning of 
the term is to be found in much of the Nazi propaganda material. In 
practice, however, the Fascist revolution engineered by the NSDAP 
left private ownership of the means of production unchanged, and 
destroyed almost at once the economic and political organizations of 
the proletariat. Nazi "socialism" may therefore be regarded as hav- 
ing a peculiar character of its own which is deserving of special 

Successful politicians must always identify themselves with symbols 
evoking favourable responses in the community. In the United States 
the adjective "socialist" has long been a term of opprobrium. In 
Germany, on the contrary, "socialism" has long been a synonym for 
social progress. Thanks to decades of Social Democratic propaganda, 
even the term "social revolution" sounds attractive rather than repel- 
lent to the proletariat and the lesser Kleinbtirgertum. Anti-Semitic 
and reactionary groups of superpatriots in post-war Munich adopted 
such labels as a matter of course in their efforts to win a popular 
following. The German Labour Party of Anton Drexler added the 
adjectives "National" and "Socialist" to its name shortly after Hitler 
became a member in 1919. Anti-Marxism was from the outset a corol- 
lary of anti-Semitism, but this did not deter Hitler from using red 
flags and posters and calling his enemies "bourgeois" in his efforts to 
attract supporters. 

"Nationalsocialism," however, is more than a campaign catchword. 
Hitler, unlike Mussolini, was never himself a Marxian socialist. But 
his movement, like its Italian counterpart, has championed "social- 
ism" vigorously a purified, patriotic, non-Jewish, anti-Marxist "na- 
tional" socialism. This conception of a purely national socialism, in 
opposition to Marxian internationalism, is, of course, not new. The 
old Prussian State of Frederick the Great is the historical prototype 
of the Nazi ideal. 1 Fichte advocated a comparable conception of the 
ideal State early in the nineteenth century. In the development of the 
German labour movement Ferdinand Lassalle's socialism was dis- 
tinctively national in contrast to Marxism. Paul de Lagarde, Professor 

1 Oswald Spongier: Preusscntum und Sozialismus (Munich: Beck; 1921). 


of Theology in Gottingen, preached a similar doctrine of a pan- 
German authoritarian "social" State in the eighties, but without 
result. In 1896 Friedrich Naumann established the Nationalsoziale 
Verein, but he was also a prophet in the desert. In 1922 Moeller Van 
den Bruck published Das Dritte Reich, in which the idea of a German 
anti-Marxian, anti-liberal socialism was clearly set forth. 1 More re- 
cently a formerly distinguished economist, Werner Sombart, has 
discovered that there is a "German Socialism," which is not the 
socialism advocated by the German Marxists nor yet Nationalsocial- 
ism, but simply a "socialism for Germany which has application 
alone and exclusively to Germany . . . and fits like a dress." 2 

The precise political and economic implications of Nazi socialism, 
however, have been shrouded in considerable obscurity. The familiar 
slogans, "Freiheit und Brot!" and "Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz!" 
throw little light on the problem. Hitler's economic ideas in the period 
prior to the formulation of the party program were largely moulded 
by Gottfried Feder, who preached social salvation through "breaking 
the bonds of interest slavery" ("Brechung der Zins/fnechtschaft"). 
According to his doctrine, there are two kinds of capital: national, 
creative Aryan capital and international, exploitive Jewish capital 
(Borsen- und Lei h Capital). This revelation showed Hitler that the 
real purpose of Marx and his followers in attacking the productive 
capital of national economy was to pave the way for the domination 
of Jewish international finance-capital. The Feder creed was incorpo- 
rated in the program. The "Twenty-five Points" prescribed for all 
citizens the duty to work (Point 10), the abolition of incomes 
unearned by work (n), the ruthless confiscation of war profits, the 
nationalization of all businesses organized into trusts, profit-sharing 
in wholesale trade, old-age pensions, municipalization of department 
stores and their leasing out at low rates to small merchants, the death 
penalty for usurers, profiteers, "etc.," prevention of speculation in 
land, and confiscation of land for community purposes (12 to i8). 3 
These proposals reflected a desire on the part of the Nazis to pander 
to demands for "cheap money" as a relief for debtors and to make" 
political capital of the prevalent hostility among the peasantry and 

1 Hamburg: TIanscatischcr Verlag: 1922; $rd cd., 1931. 

2 Deittscher Sozialismus (Berlin: Buchholz and Weisswange; 1934), P- I2I 

3 Gottfried Feder: Das Program tier N.S.D.A.P. und seine weltanschaiillchen Grundge- 
dan\en (Munich: Ehcr; 575th thousand, 1933), pp. 19-22; on the last point mentioned, 
cf. pp. 134-36 below. 


small bourgeoisie toward "Big Business," chain stores, mortgage- 
holders, and creditors generally. This hostility was in part deflected 
upon the Jews, but the political exigencies of the Nazi strategy never 
made possible the clear formulation of an intelligible economic pro- 
gram. Goebbels designated "Kapitalismus" as the chief enemy of 
freedom and asserted that Marxism was incapable of overcoming this 
enemy, because its leaders worked hand in hand with the representa- 
tives of "Borsenfyapital" and were of the same Jewish race. But Nazi 
definitions of "socialism" have seldom been consistent or clear. Feder's 
efforts to distinguish between "loan-capital" and "productive-capital" 
have remained incomprehensible to uninitiated economists. 1 He, 
along with other Nazi leaders, proposed at various times the abolition 
of the gold standard, the repudiation of public debts, the abolition of 
taxes, and the financing of public works by certificates (the so-called 
"Federgeld") secured by the workers themselves. 

The Nazi coalition government in Thuringia in 1930 attempted to 
embark upon currency experiments. On February 4, 1931, the Nazi 
deputies introduced a resolution in a Reicfistag committee demanding 
discontinuation of any further contraction of interest-bearing loans 
by Reich, states, or communes and the financing of public improve- 
ments through non-interest-bearing certificates. 2 But these efforts 
were not pursued. An organic economic doctrine of the party has 
never emerged. Inconsistency and incomprehensibility, however, are 
more often political assets than liabilities in winning the masses. 

The whole social-economic program of the party was a masterpiece 
of practical political psychology. Proletarians were converted by the 
verbiage of a true German "socialism" and a patriotic "social revolu- 
tion." Peasants were won by promises of cheap money, repudiation 
of mortgages, and special protection of their interests. Certain indus- 
trialists, no less than peasants, burghers, and workers, were hostile 
toward the banks and Bourse (cf. Henry Ford's attacks on "Wall 
Street") and were convinced of the utility of Nationalsocialism by its 
attacks on bankers and usurers. That the NSDAP, in its assault on 
"interest slavery," was charging against windmills made the attack 

1 Gottfried Fedcr: Der Deutsche Staat, pp. 135-42, and Das Manifest zur Brechttng der 
Zinsknechtschajt dcs Celdcs (Munich: Ehcr; 1919). 

2 Cf. Thcodor Hcuss: Hitlers Weg, p. 94; Ernst Ottwalt: Dentschland Erwachcl pp. 
321-41; Walthcr Schcuncmann: Der Nationalsozialismus (Berlin: Neuer Gcist Vcrlag; 
i 93 i ), PP- 59-129. 


all the more effective for assaults on impersonal monsters and fiends, 
conjured up out of diseased imaginations, are invariably more exciting 
than actual violence against one's neighbours who happen to be 
bankers or mortgage-holders. In the end, the whole financial and 
credit structure of German society was to remain undisturbed after 
the party attained power. The only debts which were repudiated 
were foreign debts. The only "interest slavery" which was broken 
was the slavery to investors in other lands who had been so foolish as 
to purchase German securities. This repudiation was dictated by grim 
necessity, but apart from the necessity it would still have been good 
politics at least as good as anti-Semitism. For here again popular 
expectations could be fulfilled and resentments could be discharged 
against scapegoats, while the moneyed elite and the propertied classes 
of the Reich were made more secure than ever. 

In German, as in Italian, Fascism the new "socialism" meant only 
the destruction of Marxism and the suppression of the independent 
trade unions, along with the integration of professional and business 
associations into some semblance of a "Standestaat" or "Corporative 
State." The real social and economic significance of Nationalsocialism 
lay in its widely heralded abolition of class conflict. In the name of 
national unity, the Marxist conception of the class war has been fought 
by the NSDAP since its establishment. Hitler's early Vienna experi- 
ences with labour unions led him to regard them as agencies of 
Jewish-Marxist treason against the State. The Nazi movement, while 
promoting the complete organization of labour for disciplinary pur- 
poses, insisted that unions should not be weapons of class struggle, 
but merely agencies to represent occupational interests. In the Fascist 
State, strikes are unnecessary and intolerable. Before 1933 the NSBO 
occasionally supported strikes for reasons of political expediency. But 
after March 5, 1933, there were to be no more strikes in Germany, 
With Marxism suppressed and the Reich saved from class conflict 
and Bolshevism, business would be able to lower production costs at 
the expense of labour, with no fear of resistance. This happy result 
was accurately anticipated by the industrialists and employers who 
donated funds so generously to the Nazi cause. 



THE Nazi conception of the State is an outgrowth of the Weltan- 
schauung which has already been suggested. This conception postu- 
lates the inequality of men, the subordination of individual liberty to 
national "freedom," and unlimited power over the nation, accom- 
panied by unlimited responsibility to God and people on the part of 
a dictator. A political order based upon these postulates is regarded as 
the logical corollary of an economic and social order based upon 
private property, the profit system, individual initiative, and inequal- 
ity of wealth and income. The liberal order of democratic parliamen- 
tarianism is viewed as a dangerous anachronism. The economic 
analogue of democracy is not capitalism but Communism. The 
political analogue of capitalism is not democracy but oligarchy and 
dictatorship. The organic, corporative, authoritarian State will at 
once revitalize capitalistic economy and unify the nation for the 
accomplishment of its mission through preventing class conflict, 
destroying Marxism, and suppressing pacifism and internationalism. 1 

From a genetic point of view, the Nazi theory of the State, like that 
of Italian Fascism, was a product of the party's war against parlia- 
mentary democracy. Just as the racial doctrine of Aryan supremacy 
emerged out of attacks upon the Jews, so the political doctrines of 
Nationalsocialism emerged out of assaults upon the "System." These 
doctrines, in their contemporary form, are nowhere expressly stated 
in the program of 1920. Here equality of rights and duties of citizens 
was championed (Point 9), Roman law was denounced as a tool of 
"the materialistic world order" (19), a national army was demanded 
(22), suppression of liberty of education and of the press was urged 
(20 and 23), religious liberty was upheld, and "the Jewish materialist 
spirit" was condemned (24). 

Here, amid faint echoes of bourgeois liberalism, one finds no in- 
sistence on dictatorship. Neither is this demand voiced in Feder's 
original commentary on the program. But in the course of its cam- 
paign for popular support in competition with the Democratic and 
Marxist Parties, the NSDAP assailed the political ideology of the 
Weimar Constitution and gradually formulated its own anti-parlia- 

1 Cf . p. 141 below. 


mentary political creed. This doctrine is presented somewhat tenta- 
tively in Moeller Van den Bruck's Das Dritte Reich (1922) / It can 
be seen taking more definite form in Feder's Der Deutsche Staat 
(1923). It receives even clearer expression in Hitler's Mein Kampj 
(1925-27), where there are bitter denunciations of such elements of 
liberalism as existed in the Hohenzollern empire and reiterated in- 
dictments of political democracy and majority rule. Democracy is 
presented as the forerunner of Marxism. As against the democratic 
State forms which emerged from the French Revolution, Hitler 
champions true "Germanic democracy," involving the free election 
of an omnipotent leader who will decide all questions without 
recourse to the majority principle. 

The subsequent development of this doctrine was shaped by the 
exigencies of the Nazi fight for power. After the disaster of the 
Munich putsch the party renounced revolutionary violence and re- 
peatedly insisted upon the "legality" of its tactics. Legality required 
the party to seek the support of a majority of the voters through the 
use of "democratic" campaign methods. The party itself, however, 
became anti-democratic in its structure as soon as Hitler assumed 
leadership. In the years that followed, the autocratic machine of the 
NSDAP, with Der Fiihrer exacting unquestioning obedience from 
his subordinates, progressively conquered the emotions of the masses. 
Its dictatorial structure gave it unity and power in electoral contests 
and helped to create the illusion that Hitler was a Heaven-sent Mes- 
siah enjoying a monopoly of political wisdom. In Hitler's own view, 
the principle of the party structure was identical with the principle 
upon which the old Prussian army was organized: authority from 
the top down, responsibility from the bottom up. 2 

This principle became the basis of the entire political ideology of 
the movement. It is the antithesis of parliamentarianism, which pre- 
scribes that authority shall be conferred upon political leaders from 
below and that lines of responsibility shall run from those who wield 
power to those who have chosen them and conferred power upon 
them. "Responsible government" in the western democracies means 
either the responsibility of the executive to the legislature or the 

1 Cf. pp. 69-122. The mystic conception of an ideal "Third Reich" to succeed the 
Hohcnstaufen empire of the Middle Ages and the modern empire of Bismarck and 
William I was not invented by the NSDAP, but was prevalent in all reactionary circles. 

2 Mein Kampj, p. 501. 


responsibility of both to the electorate. In the new Germany the 
electorate and the party are responsible to Der Fiihrer, Since men are 
unequally endowed, the conceptions of mass participation in govern- 
ment and of legislation through numerical majorities are deemed to 
be obviously absurd and contrary to "natural law." Constitutional 
forms are of no importance. What is important is the Fuhrerprinzip, 
the role of personal leadership, the concentration of responsibility in 
the hands of the few, the exercise of power by a new elite. 

This elite is answerable to the dictator. And the dictator is answer- 
able only to God and to the people. His relationship to God remains 
as nebulous as was that of the divine-right monarchs. His relationship 
to the people has never been defined with complete clarity in Nazi 
theory or practice. In 1926 Goebbels could say: 'The great leader will 
not be elected. He is there when he must be there!" 1 After the seizure 
of power Hitler repeatedly insisted that he held authority by a broad 
popular mandate. But these logical discrepancies offer no difficulty 
to the convinced Nationalsocialist. He accepts unreservedly Treit- 
schke's "great man" theory of history. Italian Fascist doctrine asserts: 
"Mussolini is always right." The good citizen of the Third Reich 
subscribes to a similar principle: "Hitler hat immcr recht!" 2 In the 
words of Goring: 

"Just as the Roman Catholic considers the Pope infallible in all 
matters concerning religion and morals, so do we Nationalsocialists 
believe, with the same inner conviction, that for us the Leader is, in 
all political and other matters concerning the national and social in- 
terests of the people, simply infallible. Wherein lies the secret of this 
enormous influence which he has on his followers ? ... It is some- 
thing mystical, inexpressible, almost incomprehensible, which this 
unique man possesses, and he who cannot feel it instinctively will 
not be able to grasp it at all. For we love Adolf Hitler, because we 
believe deeply and unswervingly that God has sent him to us to save 
Germany." 8 

But power in the new State was not to be exercised directly by Der 
Fiihrer over the mass of the population. Only citizens would have 
the privilege of giving their approval to the dictatorship. Citizenship 

1 Die zwclte Revolution, p. 5. 

2 M. A. Schlitter: "Wirtschajtsbegriffe und ihre Problemati^" Hochschule jur Politik. 

der NSDAP, p. 132. 

3 Hermann Goring: Germany Reborn (London: Mathews & Marrot; 1934), PP- 79-8o. 


was ultimately to be restricted to male Aryans of German birth who 
had completed their patriotic education and military service and to 
Aryan German females not employed in industry or commerce and 
married to citizens. 1 The citizenry, moreover, would be organized 
into an integrated series of professional and economic associations, 
in accordance with the conception of the Stdndische or corporative 
State. 2 

Above all, however, the citizenry must obey. Servile and unques- 
tioning subordination to authority is the first duty of the liberated 
Aryan of the Third Reich. That an entire people could be propa- 
gandized into surrendering personal liberty and self-government 
not reluctantly, but joyously in the name of "liberation" and "national 
awakening" seemed incredible to western liberals insufficiently ac- 
quainted with the German past and with the pathological insecurity- 
feelings of the Kleinburgertum. This miracle was nevertheless to be 
accomplished. Its accomplishment is explicable only in terms of the 
deep yearning of millions of Germans for an end of all thought, will, 
or action on their own part in the conduct of their public affairs. 
The Fuhrerprinzip was (and is) merely a verbalization of the emo- 
tional satisfaction of having found at last in Hitler a symbol of 
absolute authority, a Great Father, a patriarch-ruler who can be 
worshipped as an all-wise Messiah, bringing solace and salvation to 
his sorely tried children. He relieves them of all responsibility for 
their own welfare, save that of implicit faith and blind subordination. 

Here the pathological regression to infantilism of the Kleinbur- 
gertum and indeed of the entire German community achieved its 
most complete expression. The citizens of the new Germany were to 
be safely nestled in the all-embracing arms of a deliverer. If the 
neurotic burgher could not quite return to the dark unconsciousness 
and the complete security of the unborn foetus in the womb, he could 
at least become once more a little child. His whole life would be 
controlled for him by a stern but loving father, 3 solicitous for the 
safety, the health, the morals, the education, the work, and the play 
of all his adopted progeny. That this father should himself be an 

1 Mcin Kampf, pp. 489-91; Programm, Point 4, 5, and 6; and Fedcr: Der Deutsche 
Staat, pp. 56-9. 

2 Cf. Max Frauendorfer: Der Stdndische Gcdanl^e im Nationalsosiatismus, (N. S. Bib- 
liothek No. 40); and Ernst Forsthof: Der totale Staat (Hamburg, 1933). 

3 For an interpretation of Hitler as a mother-symbol, see H. D. Lasswell, "The Psy- 
chology of Hitlerism," Political Quarterly, Vol. IV, pp. 373-84. 


alien bachelor merely increased his affection for his millions of Ger- 
man children. That this king should be uncrowned and should him- 
self have risen from the people made his title the more sacred and 
his despotism the more benevolent. 


THE culminating mysticism of the Nazi Weltanschauung is an ethno- 
centric megalomania more ardent and fanatic than any that had 
before appeared in the Reich, Here the NSDAP found the final and 
most effective device for the hypnosis of the masses. That internal 
unity could be most easily achieved by dramatizing external threats 
and inculcating hysterical hatred of foreign foes was a lesson which 
Hitler learned early and applied always, with singular consistency 
and success. The propaganda of delirious chauvinism and swash- 
buckling militarism was carried on by all reactionaries. It was for the 
NSDAP to out-chauvinize the chauvinists, to out-militarize the mili- 
tarists, to preach a passionate cult of patriotic hate and national con- 
ceit so extravagant and fantastic that it left all its competitors far be- 
hind. In this fashion the party became popularly identified with the 
purest and most fiery patriotism. Its enemies were stigmatized as less 
patriotic or unpatriotic, and its Leader became a symbol of national 
liberation from foreign oppressors. To the task of inculcating these 
attitudes the Nazi propagandists devoted themselves with the utmost 
energy and enthusiasm. And in the course of its accomplishment they 
made ultra-patriotic militaristic fanaticism the Leitmotiv of their 
whole philosophy. 

Here, too, they built on the pre-war past and availed themselves 
of ancient and deep-seated responses to the symbols of national pride 
and power. The historian Heinrich von Treitschke had long since 
popularized military hero-worship. ''Manner machen die Ge- 
schichte!" was his motto. Paul de Lagarde and Friedrich Naumann 
were here also the spiritual ancestors of the NSDAP. Nietzsche, with 
his flaming gospel of the "Blond Beast" and the "Superman," like- 
wise contributed. In 1891, the year of Lagarde's death, the Pan-Ger- 
man League was established. 1 Its president, Justizrat Heinrich Class, 

1 Mildred Wcrtheimer: The Pan-German League, 1890-1914 (New York: Columbia 
University Press; 1924). 


advocated not economic imperialism for profits, but the German 
"mission" of conquest for power and glory. He began using the 
slogan "Deutschland Erwachel" in 1892. During the war he preached 
superimperialistic annexationism. Moeller Van den Bruck and a 
whole generation of post-war patriotic pamphleteers refurbished the 
dimmed splendors of Bismarck, Moltke, Frederick the Great, the 
Hohenstaufens, and the ancient pagan Germans and thereby paved 
the way for the acceptance by the masses of the most immoderate 
frenzy of patriotic bellivolency ever developed in modern Europe. 

The psychic deprivations of the Kleinbtirgertum, growing out of 
the defeat of 1918 and the aftermath of Versailles, have already been 
suggested. The degradation of national power was a personal affront 
to all patriots who identified themselves with the Fatherland. Emo- 
tional acceptance of defeat and of the burdens of the vanquished was 
impossible to a proud people conditioned to regard itself as militarily 
invincible. Acquiescence in the new order could scarcely be expected 
from patriots who had made tremendous sacrifices of blood and 
treasure during a conflict in which brilliant victories were numerous 
and in which ultimate triumph seemed inevitable, almost to the 
very end. The loss of European territories, of colonies, of army, navy, 
and air fleet, the forcible exaction of tribute, and the compulsory im- 
position of one-sided disarmament were hotly resented. The "war 
guilt" article of the Treaty (Article 231) added insult to injury and 
was instrumental in rendering the burdens of the peace psycholog- 
ically intolerable. Patriots of all parties lauded the Foreign Office in 
its long struggle to prove German "innocence" and Allied guilt in 
1914. Having demonstrated to its own satisfaction that the severity 
of the settlement was morally unjustifiable, the patriotic bourgeoisie 
found the task of fulfilment more onerous than ever. 

For reasons of internal politics, these resentments and dissatisfac- 
tions were assiduously cultivated by Nationalist and Nazi propa- 
gandists. By virtue of the incessant dramatization of German woes 
and Allied wickedness, they were gradually developed to a point of 
pathological intensity. The resulting aggressions became the more 
explosive because they were repressed. Disarmed Germans could not 
fight Frenchmen and Poles armed to the teeth. Merely verbal xeno- 
phobia was unsatisfying. Hatred of the foreign enemy was perforce 
introverted and in part discharged against internal scapegoats. But 
the original Socialist and liberal efforts to cast the blame for the 


catastrophe on the old dynasts and the former ruling classes were 
never successful. The mass of patriots remained loyal to the old sym- 
bols for which millions had fought and died. The old ruling classes, 
moreover, were also the new ruling classes. And if "Germany" had 
been "innocent" in 1914, then obviously Wilhelm II and the feudal 
militarists were not to blame for her misfortunes. If it should be 
conceded that they were to blame, then all patriots were also blame- 
worthy or at least stupid for having followed their leadership. Such 
an admission was psychologically impossible without a complete so- 
cial revolution. 

Other internal scapegoats must be found. Nationalists and Nazis 
supplied them: Germany was innocent; the old rulers were inno- 
cent; Germany was invincible; the grey armies had not been de- 
feated; they had been "stabbed in the back" by Jews, Marxists, Ma- 
sons, pacifists, and liberals; the revolution of 1918 was worse than 
senseless; it was a crime and the same Jewish-Marxist "November 
criminals" who perpetrated it were constantly perpetrating new 
crimes which were responsible for the ever-deepening misery: "ful- 
filment," payment of tribute, acceptance of disarmament, and tolera- 
tion of pacifism and internationalism. No matter that the Ruhr was 
freed in 1924, that Germany was given security at Locarno in 1925 
and admitted to the League of Nations in 1926, that the Rhineland 
was evacuated in 1930, that reparations were scaled down and then 
abolished in 1932. These "victories" of republican diplomacy were 
too late and too little. 

Against this background the Nazi cult of militant nationalism 
evolved. Gradually the ultra-patriotism of the NSDAP took on a 
distinctive coloration of its own, nicely adapted to the psychic needs 
of the neurotic Kleinburgertum and reflecting other elements in the 
new Weltanschauung. The racial myth made the "Nordic" or "Ar- 
yan" German burgher not merely a member of a nation struggling 
with other nations for a place in the sun, but a member of an ethnic 
group which was the salt of the earth. This group was the repository 
of all virtue, all wisdom, all power, for these were the fruits of its 
"superior blood." The rest of humanity was an inferior and de- 
generate Untermenschentum. The Slavs, in particular, were scum 
and the most numerous of the Slavic people, the Russians, were 
debauched and doomed tools of those parasitic Orientals, the Jews, 
whose "world conspiracy" against the white race had culminated in 


the Marxist-Jewish Weltpest, Bolshevism. The French were bastard- 
ized by Jews and Negroes and addicted to liberalism, democracy, 
atheism, Freemasonry, and comparable vices. French "Negro-Jewish 
militarism" threatened the racial purity of all Europe. The Italians, 
though obviously not Nordic, were still on a high plane, for Musso- 
lini's Fascists, too, were really anti-Semites. Not consciously perhaps, 
but they had crushed Marxism, the trade unions, and freedom of the 
press and these were the prime weapons of the Elders of Zion. But 
the Germans alone had a great historic mission to perform. They 
must save Europe from Bolshevism and from the menacing Asiatic 
hordes. And they must build a mighty pan-German Fatherland, 
spacious enough to feed its millions of future warriors, powerful 
enough to destroy French hegemony, and sufficiently inspired, dis- 
ciplined, and determined to remake the Continent after its own 
thinking and its own desire. 1 

More specifically, the "racial mission" of the Germans demanded 
first of all equality of rights (Gleichberechtigung) with the victors 
of 1918 and rearmament on land, sea, and air. It required next the 
recovery of the lost provinces and the union with Germany of all the 
Germanic peoples of Europe: the Austrians and the Germans in 
Czechoslovakia, Upper Silesia, the Polish Corridor, Danzig, Memel, 
Schleswig, Eupen, Malmedy, Alsace, and Lorraine. It demanded also 
the restoration of the overseas colonies, though the Nazi leaders in 
general are not colonialists. A mere return to the 1914 status quo was 
not enough. Germany's future lay not in Africa and not on the sea, 
but in the East. Germany must expand across Poland into the 
Ukraine, into barbarous Russia, and into the great Danube basin. 
And in the vivid imagination of Rosenberg, this Great Germany 
must eventually take unto its ample bosom the Danes, the Swedes, 
the Norwegians, the Finns, the Dutch, the Flemings, and the Swiss. 2 
Such a program, however, could not be accomplished without foreign 
aid. France must be persuaded or coerced into giving the Reich a free 
hand in eastern Europe. Alliances must be concluded with England 
and Italy to checkmate the French bloc. This fixed idea of an 

1 Cf . p. 20 above, and Mcin Kampf, pp. 689-705, 726-58; Gustav Sondermann: 
Der Sinn der volktschcn Sendttng (Munich: Lehmann; 1924); Heinrich Mass: Deutsche 
Wchr (N. S. Biblinthck No. 47); J. Gocbbcls: "NationdsoziaUsmus als Staatspolitische 
Notwcndigkdt" in NationalsoziaUstisches Jahrbuch, i933> PP- 208-14. 

2 For a somewhat exaggerated treatment of this ambition, see Ernst Henri: Hitler over 
Europe, pp. 107 tf. 


AngloGerman-Italian alliance has persisted tenaciously in Nazi 
thinking in the face of repeated rebuffs from London and Rome. 
For only by this means can French power be effectively broken and 
the road cleared for Germanic imperialism. 

Hitler and his aides have never cherished the illusion that these 
dreams can be realized by pacific means. War will be necessary. And 
war is the prerequisite of racial virtue and national strength, offering 
values of self-sacrifice, co-operation, discipline, and heroism which 
make it good and desirable per se, regardless of the ends for which 
it is waged. Even successful war with honour is preferable to a dis- 
honourable peace. "Better a terrible end than an endless terror." 
"Europe the whole world can go up in flames. We don't care! 
Germany must live and be free." 1 "Might is right!" is sound Nazi 
doctrine. Political power divorced from military force is regarded as 
a contradiction in terms. Hitler, in his autobiography, takes for 
granted the inevitability of war and the necessity of violence. So long 
as Germany remains disarmed among heavily armed neighbours, 
expediency dictates that sabre-rattling shall be figurative only and 
shall be accompanied by repeated assurances of peaceful intent. But 
woven into the warp and woof of the political doctrine of German 
Fascism are the heroic military traditions of the Prussian past, the 
Heldentttm ideal of knights in armour and the deepest deference 
toward the vocation of the soldier. The Nazi leaders left to foreign 
observers the academic task of debating whether these values consti- 
tuted "militarism." For their own part, they were content to spare 
no effort to awaken martial enthusiasm among their followers and 
prospective subjects. 

"The Nordic race has a right to rule the world. We must make 
this right the guiding star of our foreign policy." (Hitler to Otto 
Strasser, May 21, 1930.) 

"The measure of the strength of a people is always and exclusively 
its readiness for military conflict." (Alfred Rosenberg in Volkischer 
Beobachter, August i, 1931.) 

"Oppressed lands will not be led back into the bosom of the com- 
mon Reich through flaming protests, but only through a mighty 
sword. To forge this sword is the task of the internal political leader- 

1 Ernst Rohm: Geschlchte cines Hochverraters, p. 366. 


ship of a people; to protect the forging and to seek allies in arms is the 
task of foreign policy." (Hitler: Mein Kampf, p. 689.) 

"The only instrument with which one can conduct foreign policy 
is alone and exclusively the sword." (Goebbels, in Der Angriff, May 
28, 1931.) 

"One must be perfectly clear that the recovery of lost provinces is 
not achieved by solemn invocations of the Beloved Lord, nor through 
pious hopes in a League of Nations, but only through armed vio- 
lence." (Hitler: Mein Kampf, p. 708.) 

"The abandonment of a policy of acquiescence and the transition 
to a policy of resistance means nothing without further war. . . . The 
war of liberation is the end-point of the policy of resistance, but its 
immediate objective can only be that of gradually recovering the 
strength and power which are necessary to throw off our chains 
completely." (Konstantin Hierl: Grundlagen einer deutschen Wehr- 

"Once more we want weapons! Yea and such a peace treaty [as 
Versailles] can serve even this end. In the infinity of its oppression, 
in the shamelessness of its demands, lies the greatest propaganda 
weapon for the reawakening of the slumbering life-will of the na- 
tion. Then everything, from children's primers to the latest paper, 
every theatre, every cinema, every bulletin board and every empty 
fence wall will be placed in the service of this single great mission, 
until the fear-prayers of our present pseudo-patriots: 'Lord make us 
free!' will be changed even in the brain of the smallest boy to the 
glowing appeal: 'Almighty God, bless our weapons for the future; 
be just as You have always been just: judge now whether we are 
worthy of freedom. Lord bless our struggle!' " (Hitler: Mein Kampf, 

P- 7 I 5-) 

Here at last was an end of equivocation. Into the dark void of re- 
pression, degradation, anxiety, and hopelessness, into the black 
cavern of Fafner, came a message as bright as the flashing blade of 
Siegfried. Der Fiihrer recognized his children in the role which they 
loved best: that of warriors. Blessed with magic blood, they were told 
over and over again that they were noble, heroic, invincible. Through 
no lack of wisdom or courage, through no mistakes of their own, 
had they suffered defeat, disgrace, and impoverishment. They had 
been betrayed and enslaved by the forces of evil. Deutschland Er- 


wachel The hour of liberation is nigh. The traitors, the criminals, 
the Jews, the Marxists at home must be disposed of. And then to arms 
against the foreign foe and to a victory glorious beyond all dream- 
ing. Every fallen mother's son will be avenged. Blood will triumph, 
and land will be conquered for future generations. And the war of 
emancipation and expansion will be no slimy horror of mud, ma- 
chine-guns, and mildewed corpses, but an adventure for the gods of 
old. Better death in battle than slavery in chains. Here castration 
phobias, sadism, masochism, and paranoia morbid longings for 
murder and death, shot through with the illusions of despair and the 
hallucinations of grandeur were subtly transmuted into a sacred 
mission. The faith of the new crusaders was as mad and glad and 
beautiful, as exciting and dramatic and heroic as any which has ever 
moved a generation of men to live and die for a cause beyond them- 
selves. 1 v 

1 Only the more important works in the enormous theoretical and doctrinal literature 
of Nationalsocialism have been indicated in the present chapter. Additional references 
are to be found in the writer's article: "The Political Theory of German Fascism," the 
American Political Science Review, April 1934, pp. 210-32; in the annotated bibliog- 
raphy in Zwischenspiel Hitler (Vienna: Reinhold; 1932), pp. 347-79; in the numerous 
brochures of the N. S. Bibliotheii; and in the catalogues of the Franz Flier Vcrlag, 




PRIOR to the election of September 15, 1930, the NSDAP was re- 
garded in the German and foreign press as an insignificant group 
of fanatics. The Nazi papers continued their persistent propagation 
of the new Weltanschauung and their insistent denunciation of the 
"System." The party congress in Niirnberg, August 34, 1929, was 
notable for the street brawling between Nazis and Social Democrats 
which characterized its conclusion. Conflicts between storm troopers 
and "Reds" became regular occurrences throughout the Reich and 
often led to fatal results. But relatively little attention was paid to 
them by the political leaders and journalists of other party groups. 
Nazi parades and mass meetings seemed to have no more signifi- 
cance than those of other "splinter" parties, save that a discerning 
observer might detect greater enthusiasm and a more effective appli- 
cation of the arts of pageantry, advertising, and demagoguery. The 
extent to which Nazi propaganda was permeating the lower middle 
class and peasantry was wholly unappreciated in the absence of any 
indication in election returns of the growing strength of the party. 
There were no national elections and few state elections between 
1928 and 1930. In November 1929 the NSDAP made gains in various 
municipal elections, largely at the expense of the Nationalists. The 
party appeared for the first time in the Berlin City Council, with 
thirteen deputies. But these tiny straws in the wind were generally 

In January 1930, however, the Hitler Bewegung availed itself of 
its first opportunity to acquire a ministerial post in a state govern- 
ment. The opportunity, strangely enough, came in Weimar, capital 

of Thuringia. It was not the result of a triumph at the polls. In the 



Diet election of December 8, 1929, the Nazis made appreciable gains 
and elected 6 representatives. But there were also 6 deputies of the 
Communist Party, 6 of the Economic Party, 5 of the People's Party, 
9 Agrarians, 3 Nationalists, i Democrat, and 18 Socialists. The Thu- 
ringian Cabinet, like the Reich Cabinet, was a coalition based upon 
the Socialists, the Democrats, and the German People's Party. Here, 
as elsewhere, the latter group, representing big business, chafed under 
the burden of co-operating with Marxists. Early in January its lead- 
ers in Weimar informed Hitler that they would accept a Nazi in the 
new coalition Cabinet. This invitation confronted Hitler with an 
important decision. He had repeatedly denounced the whole parlia- 
mentary system and had implied that the party would never play 
parliamentary politics. Many of his followers were committed, like 
the Communists, to non-co-operation with the "bourgeois" groups. 
But the temptation was too attractive to resist. Hitler accepted and 
designated Wilhelm Frick, leader of the Nazi faction in the Reichs- 
tag, as his man for the proffered post. 

Frick took the solemn oath of office as Minister of the Interior, put 
aside his hopes of the "lieutenant and ten men" who would destroy 
the democratic regime, and embarked upon his duties of supervising 
police administration, education, and the fine arts. On the same day 
Hitler told a mass meeting in Weimar that this collaboration sig- 
nified no abandonment of the program, but merely symbolized the 
party's iron determination to give reality to its ideas. Prick's first 
step was to discharge members of the police force suspected of Marx- 
ist views and to replace them by loyal Nazis. This action caused Karl 
Severing, Prussian Minister of the Interior and Social Democrat, to 
withhold that portion of the salaries of the Thuringian police paid 
by Prussia and precipitated an acrimonious controversy as to whether 
Frick was using his police force for anti-republican purposes. Frick 
soon appointed to a professorship at the University of Jena Hans 
Gunther, the racial specialist and chief contributor to the new 
"Nordic" anthropology. Adolf Bartels, anti-Semitic defamer of 
Heinrich Heine, became a lecturer on German literature. Professor 
Paul Schultze-Naumburg was made head of the State Art School 
and the State Collections. This gentleman was an outstanding pro- 
ponent of "Nordic culture" and an apostle of a new Germanic reli- 
gion which should be divorced from all notions of pity or humanity 
(Mitleidsmoral). While his wife fell in love with Frick, he proceeded 


to remove from the Schlossmuseum in Weimar the paintings of 
Picasso, Barlach, Klee, and other contemporary artists, on the ground 
that they were the works of "eastern sub-humans." 

The Nazi Minister was tireless in his efforts to cleanse Thuringia 
of all traces of "Jewish intellectualism," pacifism, Marxism, and 
"Kultur-Bolschewismus" He increased his own salary, permitted 
house rents to be raised, and persecuted various workers' organiza- 
tions. With the fury of a mediaeval ascetic he assailed the "Kunst- 
bolschewistische Folterfyammer im Weimarer Schlossmuseum" 
banned modern dancing and jazz music, and condemned the "nig- 
gerizing of German culture." Anti-republican and anti-foreign hate- 
prayers were made obligatory for all schoolchildren, though this 
policy was later held by the courts to be a violation of Article 148 of 
the Reich Constitution. On the anniversary of Goethe's death the 
Feme murderer Paul Schulze delivered a political oration in the 
National Theatre, where the Weimar Assembly had met. He de- 
nounced its members as traitors and criminals. These interesting 
goings-on continued until April 1931, when, in spite of Hitler's 
efforts, Frick was forced out of the Cabinet. His activities were looked 
upon with mild amusement in German liberal circles and regarded 
as a wholesome lesson certain to discredit the Nazi cause. But, on the 
contrary, they won new converts and brought joy to the hearts of a 
patriotic and pietistic Kleinbiirgertum bent upon "purifying" art 
and education, no less than politics. 1 

The deepening of the economic depression brought new converts 
into the movement by thousands. Between January 1928 and January 
1930 the party membership increased from 80,000 to 200,000. By 
January of 1931 there were 400,000 members. It was precisely during 
this period of rapid growth, however, that the incongruities and 
contradictions within the movement came once more to the surface. 
Many new members came from the peasantry and the backward 
petty bourgeoisie of Hanover, Mecklenburg, Silesia, and Pomerania. 
But a sufficient number of workers and of radicalized employees, 
shopkeepers, and small property-owners entered the movement to 
create dissatisfaction with the Munich headquarters. This unrest 
was largely due to Hitler's increasingly intimate contacts With large 

1 Edgar Schmidt-Pauli: Die Manner um Hitler, pp. 77-86; Ernst Ottwalt: Deutschland 
Erwachel pp. 265-74 and 315; E. A. Mowrer: Germany Puts the Clock Back, PP 


industrialists and to his tactics of compromise and "legality." Par- 
ticipation in coalition governments was especially irksome to the 
more fanatic party members. In 1929 Hitler authorized Helmuth 
von Miicke, a prominent leader in Saxony, to enter into a coalition 
Cabinet in Dresden. This policy was opposed, however, by the textile 
industrialist Mutschmann, with the result that Hitler disavowed 
Miicke's efforts. Miicke then accused Hitler of being in Mutsch- 
mann's pay and under his domination. The charge of subjection to 
industrialists and of connections with Hugenberg and other reac- 
tionaries was frequently made by Otto Strasser and other party rad- 
icals. The Thuringian episode added to the ever growing discontent. 

Long-smouldering friction developed into an open break in May 
of 1930. In Berlin, where Goebbels was talking social radicalism to 
win the proletariat, Otto Strasser, editor of the N.S. Briefe, estab- 
lished a Kampfverlag in co-operation with his brother Gregor. The 
publications of this press secured increasing attention in northern 
party circles. The Strassers championed social revolution, the ex- 
propriation of the owning classes, and the establishment of a social- 
ized co-operative economy. Confiscation of war profits, appropriation 
of land for public use, municipalization of department stores, and 
nationalization of trusts had all been proposed in the original pro- 
gram. Otto Strasser's Nationalsocialism was genuinely socialist as 
well as national. It led him toward increasing criticism of Goebbels 
and of Hitler, whose "Fascist" and "capitalistic" tendencies he re- 
peatedly attacked. 

Der Fiihrer, in his efforts to win financial support from business 
men, had already assured his industrialist and Junker friends that 
the economic program of the party implied no attack upon their 
interests. Point 17 of the program called for "confiscation without 
compensation of land for communal purposes." On April 13, 1928, 
Hitler issued the following statement: 

"It is necessary to reply to the false interpretation on the part of 
our opponents of Point 17 of the NSDAP. Since the NSDAP admits 
the principle of private property, it is obvious that the expression 
'confiscation without compensation' merely refers to possible legal 
powers to confiscate, if necessary, land illegally acquired or not ad- 
ministered in accordance with national welfare. It is directed in the 
first instance against the Jewish companies which speculate in land." * 

1 Das Programm der N.S.D.A.P., p. 21. 


The Deutsche Tageszeitung of January 25, 1930, addressed to the 
party a number of questions formulated by the Brandenburg Land- 
bund. Gottfried Feder issued an extended reply, in which he said, 
among other things: 

"Nationalsocialism recognizes private ownership as a principle 
and places it under State protection. It will seek to maintain a healthy 
combination of all businesses, small and great, in the economic life 
of the nation. The spirit of the whole program proves clearly that 
Nationalsocialism, being a convinced and consistent opponent of 
Marxism, utterly rejects its ruinous central doctrine of general con- 
fiscation, and considers a permanent agricultural class to be the best 
and surest foundation for the national State." 

The party, declared Feder, recognizes inheritance as well as owner- 
ship of land and is prepared to "assist agriculture to the utmost" and 
to rescue the farmers from Jewish money-lenders. Interest on savings, 
mortgages or State loans would be unaffected by the "breaking of 
interest slavery." The party would not remove import duties on food- 
stuffs, but would favour them. "Profit-sharing" would have no appli- 
cation to agriculture. Old-age insurance benefits would not be raised 
by taxation, but by contributions. 

"As an opposition party against a coalition government which has 
brought unhappiness to Germany, we naturally, vote now and then, 
just like the Nationalists and the Christian National Peasants, with 
the Communists, although a whole world divides us from them. 
. . . We do not consider that 'social communication' with other 
parties is a proper method of freeing the German nation from the 
pest of Marxism and parliamentarianism for it usually leads only to 
political horse-trading. Only dictatorial action and a ruthless will 
to power can pull Germany out of the swamp. The people do not 
want pretty speeches, but strength; not horse-trading, but determined 
work in the services of our poor, enslaved German people." 1 

Apparently deeming these reassurances insufficient, Hitler issued 
an official party Manifesto on Agriculture on March 6, 1930. It em- 
phasized the necessity for agrarian self-sufficiency, limitation of im- 
ports of foodstuffs, and the protection of the rural population "as the 
bearer of the inheritance of health, the source of the nation's youth, 
and the backbone of its armed strength." Farmers would be aided by 
reduction of tax burdens, by protection from foreign competition, 

, pp. 12-15. 


by reduction in the profits of wholesale middlemen, and by lower 
prices to the Jewish sellers of electric power and fertilizer. Land may 
be owned only by Germans and must be used "in the national in- 
terest." There must be no speculation in land, no unearned income 
from land, no private loans on land. "Farming on a large scale, how- 
ever, has a very essential part to play, and if it preserves a healthy 
relation toward the smaller businesses, it is justifiable." Inheritance 
laws must prevent the subdivision of estates and the accumulation 
of debts upon them. Only land illegally acquired might be confis- 
cated without compensation. Other land not cultivated by the owner 
might be appropriated with compensation for purposes of national 
defence. "Colonization of the eastern frontiers is of extreme im- 
portance. ... It will be the duty of Germany's foreign policy to 
provide large spaces for the nourishment and settlement for the 
growing German population." 1 Thus were the Junkers promised 
that their rights would not be interfered with, while the peasantry 
was offered hope of economic salvation.^ Comparable reassurances 
with regard to industrial property and trusts were evidently not re- 
garded as necessary, in view of the cordial relations already existing 
between the party leaders and many industrialists. 

Such concessions to the propertied classes infuriated the Strassers 
and the northern "Jacobins," who redoubled their attacks on the 
Munich headquarters. Hitler acted against them with characteristic 
suddenness. At 12.45 p.m., May 21, 1930, Otto Strasser received a 
telephone call from Hess, inviting him to come to the Hotel Sans 
Souci in Berlin for a discussion of his differences with Hitler. He 
went. Before a small group of listeners, he was reprimanded by Der 
Fiihrer for "deviating" from the party line. Hitler's purpose, how- 
ever, was persuasion rather than coercion. "With us," he declared, 
"Leader and Idea are one, and every party member must obey the 
orders of the Leader, who incarnates the Idea and alone knows its 
final destination." A long debate followed, extending over into the 
next day. Strasser insisted vehemently on five points: a thorough 
revolution, opposition to bourgeois capitalism, real socialism, no 
coalitions, and no attacks on Soviet Russia. Hitler accused Strasser 
of advocating democracy and Bolshevism. "The working masses 
want only bread and circuses, they have no understanding for any 
kind of ideal and we cannot count upon winning the workers in 

1 Ibid., pp. 6-12. 


large numbers." Strasser questioned the genuineness of Hitler's 

"But Socialism," explained the Leader, "does not mean that fac- 
tories must be socialized, only that they may be when they act con- 
trary to the interests of the nation. So long as they do not, it would 
simply be a crime to disturb business. . . . Just as the Fascists have 
already done, so in our Nationalsocialist State we will have employers 
and workers standing side by side with equal rights." 

"What would you do with the Krupp A.G. if you came into 

"Why, nothing," was Hitler's reply. "Do you think I am so sense- 
less as to upset business?" * 

Hitler failed to convince his lieutenant either by threats or by tear- 
ful pleadings. Strasser was more certain than ever that his chief really 
was working hand in hand with the "Jewish Bourse" to uphold 
capitalism. For five weeks the issue hung fire. Then Hitler ordered 
Goebbels to "cleanse" the Berlin Gau. In a General Assembly on 
June 30 Strasser was bitterly attacked by Goebbels and ejected from 
the meeting. On July i he telegraphed Hitler in Munich, demanding 
an explanation within twenty-four hours. None came. Strasser, with 
two of his colleagues, Weigand von Miltenberg (Herbert Blank) 
and Major Buchrucker, then seceded from the party and established 
the "Kampfgemeinschajt Revolutiondres Nationalsozialisten." The 
issue was clear: Fascism or Socialism, cabinet posts or revolution. 
Strasser sought to keep control of his paper, Der Nationale Sozialist> 
and of the N.S. Briefe. He also sought to establish a Nazi Workers' 
and Peasants' Youth Movement. But the response among the party 
members was small. Otto's brother Gregor remained loyal to Mu- 
nich. Otto presently abandoned his venture and later went into vol- 
untary exile. 2 

But the sources of conflict were by no means removed. During the 
summer of 1930, great burdens were placed upon party leaders and 
members by the election campaign. Many storm troopers in "Red 
Berlin" were still under the influence of socialistic ideas. They found 
a spokesman in Osaf-Stellvertreter Ost, Captain Walter Stennes, 
and another in Osaf Pfeffer von Salomon. In August, Stennes sent 

1 Otto Strasser: Ministersessel odcr Revolution? Eine wahrhcitsgcmdsse Darstellung 
meiner Trennung von der NSDAP (Berlin, 1930). 

2 Cf. Walthcr Scheuncmann: Der Nationalsozialismus, pp. 22-7; and Weigand von 
Miltenberg: Adolf Hitler, William III, pp. 1-75. 


emissaries to Munich to plead for special compensation to the Berlin 
S.A. Parades, uniforms, posters, even bloody street brawls with Com- 
munists cost money as well as time and many of the storm troopers 
were desperately poor. The emissaries were spurned by Hitler and 
came back empty-handed to the capital. On August 27 Stennes an- 
nounced that the Berlin S.A. would refuse all further party duty. 
"Nieder mit der Bonzokratic!" was the cry of the rebels. These 
threats produced no results save condemnation from Goebbels. On 
Saturday night, August 31, a group of S.A. men stormed Goebbcls's 
offices in Hedemannstrasse, demolished the windows and furniture 
in most of the thirty-two rooms, and smashed a near-by motor car 
belonging to one of Goebbels's friends. Soon afterwards the rebels 
scattered broadcast a leaflet: 

"Deutsche Vol^sgenossenl Awakening Germany betrayed by 
Goebbels! The S.A. of Adolf Hitler, the storm troops for the German 
future, march no more. . . . For weeks we have been betrayed by 
our leaders, Goebbels, Wilke, etc. The young workers of brawn and 
brain in Hitler's S.A., who have freely offered their blood every day 
for Germany's future, who have led the election campaign for the 
NSDAP, should make no more sacrifices while our leaders enrich 
themselves. Our basic idea, 'Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigenntitz' is 
trampled underfoot by our leaders. The S.A. is expected not only to 
offer its blood, but to pay for its propaganda, its motor cars, its trav- 
elling expenses, because the party apparently has no money. Yet 
Herr Goebbels, at a time when our movement has no money, buys 
a new Mercedes car which costs at least 15,000-20,000 marks. Herr 
Goebbels has the party pay him for every speech. Herr Wilke, Gauge- 
schaftsfiihrer, can buy himself a cigar business with his party profits. 
No worker, no S.A. man, is a candidate for the Reichstag. . . . 

"We have a large number of party members who own factories. 
These members come to our demonstrations in their private cars, for 
they believe that we are going to protect their chests of gold. But these 
gentlemen are mistaken. The workers of brawn and brain will not 
permit themselves to be talked out of the socialist idea, which for 
Herr Goebbels is only a 'means to an end.' For us the goal is national 
socialism, liberation from capital at home and abroad. . . ." l 

This was unendurable. Hitler decided to dissolve the entire S.A. 
of Berlin. But any such move would be disastrous two weeks before 

1 Ernst Ottwalt: Deutschland Erwachel pp. 301-2. 


the election. Hitler flew to the capital, rushed to the S.A. headquarters, 
and there wept, pleaded, and threatened. In vain. Then he yielded. 
Certain Reichstag mandates were conceded to the storm troopers. On 
September 3, 1930, the V.B. published an order from Hitler: 

"I order the raising of a special S.A. assessment of 20 pf. per party 
member, to be paid exclusively to the S.A. ... I order the imme- 
diate raising of the entrance fee from i mark to 2 marks for every new 
member. One mark is to be paid directly by the Ortsgruppen to the 
S.A. The approval of the General Assembly of members will be se- 
cured later. I order the payment of 50 per cent of the campaign funds 
of the Ortsgruppen to the S.A. I order the payment of legal protection 
of arrested S.A. and S.S. men out of the Gau treasuries." * 

These "orders" produced the desired effect. Osaf Pfeffer was dis- 
missed, but Osaf Stennes and his storm troopers resumed their 
activities. But now a new difficulty arose. Hitler, who was being 
threatened with prosecution for high treason, insisted upon "legality" 
and complained of excessive violence, so much so that even Goebbels 
ridiculed his "Legditatspsychose" The election was a brilliant vic- 
tory, but the beatings and shootings of enemies continued. Between 
November and January the Berlin S.A. was involved in eight mur- 
ders. The perpetrators were defended through the Hiljsdienst, but 
tension between Munich and Berlin continued to increase during 
the winter. On March 3, 1931, Hitler ordered all the S.A. divisions 
in Cassel disbanded for insubordination. On April i, 1931, Hitler 
ordered his followers to obey Hindenburg's decree suspending con- 
stitutional guarantees and threatened to expel all violators from the 
party. Captain Stennes demurred. Hitler sent Rohm to Berlin to 
discharge Stennes from his post. The Feme murderers Paul Schulze 
and Edmund Heines were named the new S.A. leaders for Berlin. 
But Stennes defied Rohm and refused to be discharged. Confident 
that the S.A. of Berlin and of all north Germany would support him, 
he kept possession of his offices, seized the press of Der Angriff, and 
issued a proclamation accusing Hitler of liberal and bourgeois tend- 
encies and of treason to the party. Hitler replied with an appeal in 
the V.B., April 3, denouncing Stennes as a traitor. In the same issue 
Rohm summoned all S.A. leaders of the north and east to send to 
Munich before April 7 a written declaration of their unqualified 

1 Ernst Ottwalt: Deutschland Erwachel pp. 305-9; Ren Laurent: Le National-Social* 
isme, pp. 123-31; Zwischenspiel Hitler (Vienna: Reinhold; 1932), pp. 119-22. 


loyalty to Hitler, on pain of expulsion from the S.A. and the party. 
The response was heartening. 

Goebbels now undertook to cleanse the Berlin movement of dis- 
sidents. Stennes' hopes were disappointed. He surrendered his head- 
quarters and the Angriff press, took an apartment near the Tiergarten, 
and assembled his followers. He denounced Hitler for building him- 
self a palace in Munich while the storm troopers went in rags, but 
said that he had been pushed into revolt by sub-leaders who now 
abandoned him. Hitler meanwhile gave full authority to Goring to 
"restore discipline" in the eastern Gatte. In Berlin alone, Goring and 
Schulze discharged nine hundred party members. On April 10 
Stennes published the first number of a paper, Workers, Peasants, 
Soldiers. He, like Otto Strasser, was a sincere revolutionist with 
proletarian sympathies. Like Strasser, he failed to shake the Munich 
leadership. The two men published Die Schwarze Front and issued 
"Fourteen Theses." But in the summer they quarrelled. Strasser like- 
wise quarrelled with another rebel, Lieutenant Wendt. The "Left 
opposition," once outside of the party, was hopelessly divided and 
incapable of making headway against Der Fiihrer. 

Hitler meanwhile lost no opportunity to enlarge his profitable 
and promising contacts with Big Business. An NSDAP which was 
now the second largest party in the Reich was a force to be reckoned 
with by Junkers and industrialists alike and a force to be used for 
such purposes as seemed good. Hitler spent much of his time in 1931 
dashing about the Reich in his Mercedes car, meeting industrial 
magnates in secret, explaining, persuading, promising, and, above 
all, soliciting funds. 1 The economic crash of 1931 brought Fritz 
Thyssen to the brink of desperation. He now embraced the Nazi 
cause openly and undertook to "sell" Hitler to his fellow magnates 
in the Ruhr and the Rhineland. A movement which would smash 
Marxism and the trade unions could not but be welcomed by em- 
ployers, if only they could perceive that its "socialistic" proposals 
were but devices to ensnare the masses. A movement that promised 
rearmament, imperialism, the war of liberation could not but be good 
business for the steel barons. Fritz peddled subscriptions to the Nazi 
treasury among his friends. Finally he brought Hitler to Diisseldorf 
to address the west German magnates in the Industry Club on the 
evening of January 27, 1932. Hitler drove up to the Park Hotel amid 

1 Otto Dietrich: With Hitler on the Road to Power (London: Lucas; 1934), pp. 12-14. 


the booing of a Marxist mob. The "socialist" candidate for dictator 
addressed the wealth and power of German capitalism. The assem- 
bled magnates were cold and reserved, but under the spell of Der 
Fiihrer's art they were fascinated and in large part "convinced." He 
spoke for two hours. 

The economic crisis in Germany, he argued, was not due to the 
world's crisis, but to mistaken policies, to lack of political leadership, 
to the weakening of the national will, to democracy and international- 
ism. Germany must turn to the army for a model of government. 
The army is always and necessarily undemocratic, with authority 
from above and responsibility from below. Pacifism between nations 
and competition between industries are incompatible. The principle 
of democracy is battling the principle of authority. Germany must 
become a national State or a Bolshevist State. It cannot remain half 
and half, divided against itself. Russian Bolshevism menaces the 
white race. To achieve salvation Germany must have a spiritual re- 
generation and an army wiih at least eight million reserves. (Here, no 
doubt, mouths began to water in pleasurable anticipation. Orders for 
uniforms! Orders for guns! Orders for artillery, aircraft, tanks. . . .) 
A company composed half of soldiers and half of pacifists cannot 
fight in war. One or the other. Democracy must go. Pacifism must 
go. The party system must go. 

"It is a contradiction to build economic life on the concept of 
accomplishment and the worth of personality, therewith practically 
on the principle of Authority, but to deny in politics this authority 
of personality and to set up in its place the law of the greatest number, 
Democracy. . . . The analogue of political democracy in the eco- 
nomic sphere is Communism. We find ourselves today in a period 
in which these two fundamental principles struggle with each other 
in all spheres and already penetrate business." 

The NSDAP has already saved Germany from Communism. 
"Had we not been here, there would be today in Germany no bour- 
geoisie (Sehr richtigl), the question: Bolshevism or no Bolshevism? 
would have long since been decided." The party's great task is to 
destroy the last roots of Marxism and to put an end to class conflict 
for all time. 1 

Loud applause. Congratulations. Donations. Der Fiihrer was in- 

1 Adolf Hitler: Vortrag Adolf Hitlers vor westdeutschen Wirtschajtlern im Industrie- 
Kltib zti Diisscldorf am 27 Jamiar 1932 (Munich: Eher; 1932). 


gratiating and persuasive. On the next day Hitler addressed the 
Krefeld silk magnates in Godcsberg and later the National Club in 
Hamburg. This was the beginning of a firm alliance between the 
erstwhile building-trades labourer and the barons of industrial feu- 
dalism. For many years neither ally was to have cause to regret its 
support of the othei;. 


LONG before Hitler and the magnates broke bread in Diisseldorf, 
the last Socialist Chancellor of the Republic, Hermann Miiller, had 
entered upon unhappy days. He presided over a coalition Cabinet of 
Social Democrats, Democrats, Centrists, and the German People's 
Party. The gradual drying-up of the streams of American and British 
capital was already becoming apparent in 1928. In 1929 the flow 
stopped, and with its stoppage the wheels of German industry began 
to turn ever more slowly. Unwittingly Mtiller was to lead his people 
into dark depression without the slightest conception of how to lead 
them out again. Miiller resigned on March 27, 1930. He died March 
20, 1931. 

On March 28, 1930, President Hindenburg asked the new Centrist 
leader, Heinrich Briining, to form a Cabinet. This clerical bachelor 
was suave, cool, honest, ascetic, eminently civilized and lacking some- 
what in forcefulness. He was too catholic and sophisticated to believe 
that any political cause was worth violent excitement. He had suc- 
ceeded Adam Stegerwald three months before as parliamentary 
chairman of the Centrum. His legislative support would be weak 
without the Social Democrats, but Hindenburg hinted that he might 
rule by emergency decrees under the ever convenient Article 48 of 
the Weimar Constitution and, if need be, dissolve the Reichstag. He 
created a "bourgeois coalition" Cabinet. The Social Democrats were 
out of the Cabinet once more and for all time. Whether the Nation- 
alists were in was doubtful. Hugenberg's leadership had split the 
party into factions. Treviranus and Count Westarp, who had quit 
the party in December, were unwilling to follow Hugenberg. The 
agrarian elements among Hugenberg's followers demanded support 
of Briining, in view of his pledge to aid agriculture. Overruled by 
his own wavering followers, Hugenberg acquiesced reluctantly. On 


April 3 the new Cabinet was approved by the Reichstag, 253 to 187. 
Of the Nationalist deputies, 53 out of 65 voted for the government, 
though the party reserved its freedom of action. 

Briining soon discovered that a Cabinet opposed by the Social 
Democrats and supported only half-heartedly by the Nationalists 
could not long retain a majority in the Reichstag elected in 1928. 
His program, like that of Hoover, MacDonald, and all conservative 
leaders in the early phases of the depression, was one of economy and 
stringent retrenchment. He accepted the agrarian protective tariffs, 
demanded by Schiele, Hugenberg, and the Junkers. The completion 
of the Allied evacuation of the Rhineland in June led to general 
rejoicing, though it was marred by reprisals against Separatist lead- 
ers. Briining failed to secure a parliamentary majority for his taxation 
proposal and resorted to "emergency decrees" (Notverordnungen). 
The Socialists took the initiative in assailing this "dictatorial" tend- 
ency of the Cabinet and introduced a resolution demanding the 
revocation of the decrees. The fifteen Nationalists who followed 
Hugenberg joined the Socialists and Communists in approving the 
resolution. The Cabinet was defeated on July 18 by a vote of 236 to 
221. At Briining's request, Hindenburg ordered the Reichstag dis- 
solved and decreed new elections for September 14. 

The NSDAP threw itself into the fray with unexampled enthu- 
siasm. Hitler and Hugenberg reached an informal truce and directed 
their assaults on the republican and Marxist parties rather than on 
one another. Millions of marks were expended in winning new con- 
verts and arousing enthusiasm among the party members. No less 
than thirty-four thousand Nazi election meetings were held through- 
out the Reich. No hamlet was too small for a demonstration, with 
speeches and parades. Everywhere were flags, standards, pageantry, 
oratory, and the Austrian Messiah in the tan raincoat. Everywhere 
voters were cajoled, frightened, flattered, and promised everything. 
In many towns storm troopers sought to "conquer the streets" by 
forcibly assaulting their enemies. In Berlin, Communist posters were 
torn down by the Nazis as fast as they were put up. On "Constitution 
Day," August n, storm troopers in motor trucks toured the capital, 
tearing down republican flags. Opposition meetings were repeatedly 
broken up by the Nazis by every device from armed violence to cat- 
calls and stench bombs. On Saturday evening, September 13, Nazi 
provocateurs in trucks invaded the Berlin stronghold of the KPD, 



Biilowplatz, and were fired upon by Communists on the roofs: one 
dead, twenty shot. 

In this campaign, as in others, Der Fiihrer was a human dynamo. 
It is doubtful whether any other political leader in the modern world 
has made so many speeches and addressed directly so many millions 
of people. Hitler was everywhere at once, dashing from town to 
town in his powerful Mercedes car or flying over the Reich in a char- 
tered plane, preferably by night. Confident of the protection of 
Providence, he took great risks and permitted no storm, no threatened 
mishap, no personal discomfort to interfere with his arduous cam- 
paigning. The fury of his movements and the drama of his entrances 
and exits were political assets, no less than his glib tongue and his 
hypnotic eye. The Deliverer who travelled on gasoline, with roaring 
motors open, captivated more millions than ever. All observers an- 
ticipated substantial gains by the radicals of both the Left and Right. 
But the actual result was astounding. 


Qualified Voters 42,972,851 

Voted 35,224,464 or 82 per cent 

Total deputies elected 577 

Communist Party 

Social Democratic Party 

State Party 


Bavarian People's Party 

German Peasantry 

German Hanoverian Party 

Conservative People's Party 

Economic Party 

German People's Party 

German National People's Party 









4 1 








In one incredible leap the NSDAP became the second largest 
party in the Reich. The "Twelve Apostles" elected on May 20, 1928, 

1 Die Wahlen zum Reichstag am 14 Sept. 1930 (Berlin: Der Reichswahlleitcr; 1930). 
The table shows the election returns for all parties receiving more than a million votes. 


were now 107. The 810,000 voters had grown to 6,400,000 in twenty- 
eight months. The party's gains were greatest in the northern and 
eastern border areas, where patriotism was most intense; in the 
northeast, where Junkers and peasants constituted the electorate; and 
in scattered areas of small towns, small businesses, and small farms. 
In East Prussia the party secured 22.5 per cent of all votes cast; in 
Pomerania, 24.3 per cent; Silesia, 22.7 per cent; Schleswig-Holstein, 
27.0; Braunschweig, 24.3; Pfalz, 22.8; Chemnitz-Zwickau, 23.8; 
Mecklenburg, 20.1. Much of the Nazi strength came from new 
voters. Over half of its supporters were salaried employees, officials, 
and other members of the Kleinburgertum. One-sixth were farmers, 
another sixth workers, and the remainder indeterminate. 1 In the 
great industrial centres the party was weakest: Berlin, 12.8 per cent; 
Oppeln, 9.5; Westphalia, 13.0; Cologne-Aachen, 14.5; Leipzig, 14.0. 
And, curiously, in the south, where the movement was oldest, its 
followers were few: Upper Bavaria, 16.3 per cent; Lower Bavaria, 
12.0 ; Wiirttemberg, 9.4. 

As for the other parties, only the Communists made spectacular 
gains from 3,263,000 voters to 4,590,000, from 54 deputies to 77. 
These gains were made largely at the expense of the Social Demo- 
crats, who lost over half a million votes and ten deputies. "Red 
Berlin" was redder than ever. The KPD commanded 33 per cent of 
the voters, with the Social Democrats (28 per cent) a poor second. 
The Democrats (State Party) lost five deputies and the Economic 
Party two, while the Centrum gained seven. The most striking losses 
were suffered by the German People's Party, which lost over a 
million votes and fifteen deputies, and by Hugenberg's Nationalists, 
who lost almost two million votes and thirty-two deputies. These 
votes had obviously gone to the Hitlerbewegung. 

The immediate aftermath of the election was a flight of capital 
from Germany and threats by the Reichswehr command to indict 
Hitler for treason. Before the Supreme Court at Leipzig, three offi- 
cers were on trial for spreading Nazi propaganda in the army: 
Lieutenants Richard Scheringer, Hans Ludin, and Friedrich Wendt, 
retired. Hitler was subpoenaed as a witness. On September 25, in the 
course of his testimony, he declared: 

"If our movement succeeds, we shall erect a people's tribunal 

1 Cf . Walthcr Scheuncmann: Der Nationalsozialismus, pp. 11-16. 


before which the November criminals of 1918 shall expiate their 
crime, and I frankly predict you shall then see their heads rolling in 
the sand. . . . Within ten years our movement has won a place as 
the second strongest political party in Germany. In three years it will 
be the strongest party, and in the future thirty-five million of the 
forty million voters, will support us. That Germany which today 
hales us into court will some day be glad that our movement was 
begun. Nationalsocialism will convert this defeatist and pacifist State 
into a nation of iron strength and will." * 

These predictions were strangely destined to be realized. In 1930 
they were dismissed as another evidence of Hitler's fanaticism and 
colossal conceit, which the liberal press insisted would doom his 
movement to frustration. But the insistence savoured of whistling to 
keep up courage. Talk of "rolling heads" was not reassuring, even 
though Hitler professed his "legality." He was not indicted. Goeb- 
bels also managed to evade the innumerable libel suits which were 
filed against him. On October 4 the three officers were found guilty 
and sentenced to dismissal and to eighteen months' imprisonment 
in a fortress. The prisoners received an ovation from the crowd, while 
the V.B. raged over this fresh evidence of republican pacifism. Wendt 
later became a "Left wing" rebel, and Scheringer joined the Com- 
munist Party. 

On October 13, 1930, the new Reichstag convened. All day long 
noisy Nazi throngs milled about in the Tiergarten near by, while 
brown-shirted rowdies scoured the streets of the capital, stoning 
Jewish shops and shouting: "]uda vcrrecJ^eT Disorders continued far 
into the night on Potsdamerplatz, as the weary police sought to 
arrest the elusive disturbers. At Wertheim's department store thirty- 
six plate-glass windows were smashed. Hitler expressed his disap- 
proval and blamed the Communists and police. Under the command 
of Frick, the 107 Nazi deputies marched in military formation into 
the session chamber, wearing brown uniforms and swastika arm- 
bands and shouting: "Heil!" at frequent intervals. They introduced 
a motion of non-confidence. Frick was elected chairman of the 
Foreign Relations Committee, and his party colleague, Franz Stoehr, 
became first vice-president of the Reichstag. Paul Lobe, the venerable 
Socialist presiding officer, retained his post. 

Briining pleaded for support, peace, and economy. On the I7th, 
1 Emil Lengycl: Hitler, pp. 139-41. 


amid a hubbub of catcalls, cheers, and curses, Gregor Strasser bel- 
lowed forth the Nazi demands: denunciation of the Treaty of 
Versailles; abrogation of the Young Plan; resort to war, if necessary, 
for "national liberation"; punishment as traitors for exporters of 
capital; restoration of universal military service; introduction of 
compulsory labour service; and the elimination of the Jews. He 
accused Reichswehr Minister Groener of treason. The Nationalist 
deputy Ernst Oberfohren likewise assailed the Young Plan. But the 
Socialists supported the government and, amid tumult and shouting, 
accompanied by street brawls outside, Briining survived his first test 
on October 18, by a vote of 318 to 236. The Reichstag then voted to 
adjourn until December 3. 

Political developments during the next few months remained con- 
fused. The Democratic Party finally dissolved and Hermann Diet- 
rich, the Minister of Finance, became leader of its successor, the State 
Party. On November 25 the Economic Party, irked at Briining's 
reliance on Socialist support, turned against the Cabinet. Its repre- 
sentative, Johann Bredt, Minister of Justice, resigned. In municipal 
elections in mid-November and early December the NSDAP con- 
tinued to gain voters. On December i Hindenburg invoked Article 48 
once more and decreed the enactment of a large number of financial 
measures sponsored by the Chancellor. On December 6, by a vote 
of 292 to 254, the Reichstag accepted Briining's proposal over the 
opposition of the Communists, the Nationalists, and the Nazis. 
Parliament remained a scene of disorder, with Right and Left ex- 
changing epithets and the Nazis shouting "Heil Hitler!" and "Heads 
will roll!" 

On February 3, 1931, the Reichstag reassembled after the mid- 
winter holidays. Nazi efforts to compel new elections and German 
withdrawal from the League of Nations were unsuccessful. Other 
Nazi legislative proposals also failed of adoption, including the death 
penalty for advocacy of disarmament and for military, political, 
economic, racial, or cultural "treason"; corporal punishment for 
insults to national heroes; high tariffs on foodstuffs; a fixed price 
for wheat, over double the prevailing world price; one-year com- 
pulsory labour service; and opposition to higher income taxes. The 
Nazis did secure the adoption of higher taxes on department stores, 
presumably for the benefit of small shopkeepers. 1 In general, how- 
1 For an analysis of Nazi legislative proposals, see Die Nazis im netiem Reichstag (Ber- 


ever, the NSDAP devoted itself to obstruction. To circumvent these 
efforts, the Reichstag adopted new rules to expedite its business. On 
February 10 the 107 Nazis, joined by the 41 Nationalists and a num- 
ber of other reactionaries, dramatically marched out of the Reichstag 
in protest and expressed their intention of not returning. This gesture 
was apparently dictated by Hugenberg, with whom Hitler was will- 
ing to co-operate. It was of dubious efficacy. It lightened Briining's 
task and caused the Reichstag, on March 23, to suspend the privileges 
of a number of Nazi deputies involved in litigation. The remaining 
deputies, with the exception of the Communists, supported the Cabi- 
net, approved the budget, and on March 26 adjourned until Octo- 
ber 13, thus giving the Chancellor a respite of five and a half months 
from legislative criticism. 

On March 28, 1931, Hindenburg decreed serious curtailment of 
civil rights, again in the name of Article 48. Though the first result 
of this action was a Berlin police raid on the Communists, it was 
inspired by the increasing frequency of Nazi riots and anti-Semitic 
disturbances. Communists and Nazis were'literally at one another's 
throats whenever opportunity offered, each accusing the other of 
being the aggressor. During 1930, 17 members of the NSDAP were 
killed and 2,506 wounded. 1 In the same year 26 non-Nazis were slain 
by storm troopers or other party members, with an untabulated 
number of wounded. 2 In 1931, 42 Nazis died under enemy fists, 
bludgeons, or bullets, and 6,307 were injured, while the party in 
retaliation apparently succeeded in killing only 35 of its enemies (to 
November 12). In 1932, 84 Nazis were dispatched and 9,715 wounded 
with an undetermined number of killed and wounded on the enemy 
side. 3 Murders, clubbings, and other acts of violence increased as the 
NSDAP expanded its membership and sought to "conquer the 
streets." The Hindenburg decree of March 28, 1931, was in part 

lin: Verlag fur Staats- uncl Wirtschafts-literatur; 1931) and Ernst Ottwalt: Dcntschland 
Erwachel, pp. 281-8. 

1 Adolf Ehrt: Bewaffneter Aujstand! (Berlin: Eckart- Verlag; 1933), P- 166, citing 
Hilfsfasse statistics. 

2 Gewalttaten der Nationalsozialistcn. Terror- und Mordjalle aus 2 Jahrcn (Berlin. 
SDPD-Werbeabt., 1931). 

3 Between January i, 1923 and July 31, 1931, 457 Germans were killed and 1,164 
seriously wounded in political conflicts. The police and Reichswchr had 14 dead and 
53 wounded, republican organizations 34 dead and no wounded, the Right radical 
parties 86 dead and 251 wounded, and the Left radical groups 323 dead and 750 
wounded. Zwischenspiel Hitler (Vienna: Rcinhold; 1932), p. 319. 


prompted by the fact that on March 16 Ernst Henning, a Communist 
member of the Hamburg City Council, had been slain late at night 
in a bus by three Nazi youths, who shot fifteen bullets into his body. 
Hitler, who had forbidden his followers to carry arms, expelled the 
murderers from the party, but appointed a lawyer to defend them. 
His insistence upon "legality" and obedience to the President's de- 
crees, and his periodical reprimands to his more unruly followers, 
increased unrest among the irrepressible elements in the movement. 

During the spring and summer of 1931 public attention was cen- 
tred upon the depression and on questions of foreign policy. Octo- 
ber brought a new crisis, leading to the formation of the famous 
"Harzburg Front." The resignation of Foreign Minister Curtius, 
following the failure of the Austro-German customs union project, 
led to the resignation of the whole Cabinet, in order to facilitate 
Briining's efforts to bring about a more stable ministerial realign- 
ment. The Cabinet was reconstituted with few changes. Groener 
became Minister of the Interior as well as Reichswehr Minister and 
thus united in his own hands the control of the army and the police. 

On October 10, 1931, Hindenburg consented for the first time to 
meet Hitler, who unfolded his plans to the President in a conversation 
lasting more than an hour. The result was inconclusive. Immediately 
afterwards Hitler motored to Bad Harzburg in Brunswick. Here, 
amid many speeches, much parading and military fanfare, were 
assembled various reactionary leaders, including Dr. Schacht, several 
Hohenzollern princes, and the leaders of the NSDAP, the National- 
ists, and the Stahlhelm. Hitler and Hugenberg presided. Here was 
forged the "National Opposition" a close alliance between the 
Nationalists, the Stahlhelm, the Landbund, and the Nazis to fight 
the Briining government. Frick explained the alliance and left little 
doubt as to the ultimate fate of those shortsighted enough to co- 
operate with the NSDAP: 

"We have been accused of mixing with wishy-washies. Let me state 
emphatically that we are willing to establish a united front with other 
nationalist movements only because we wish to seize political power. 
Mussolini, too, worked at first with coalitions. We claim to be the 
backbone of the Nationalist movement, and we must demand 
leadership." x 

1 Cf. Rene Laurent: Le National-Socialismc, pp. 225-8. 


The industrialist-publicist-politician who here formed his alliance 
with Hitler paid no heed to such warnings. Alfred Hugenberg was 
destined to play a decisive role in the delivery of the Reich to Fascism. 
Son of a rich Hanoverian family, he had studied to be a jurist and 
had become a public official and an agricultural expert. His father-in- 
law and uncle (he married his cousin) made him head of a bank. 
From agrarian banking he went into industry and became a Krupp 
director and later a subordinate of Stinnes. He then went into politics 
and systematized the subventions of the Ruhr industrialists to poli- 
ticians and journalists. Like Stinnes, he fought the Treaty of Ver- 
sailles, the reparations settlement, the Dawes Plan, and the Locarno 
Treaties. In his political orientation he was more Prussian than the 
Prussians, more aristocratic than the aristocrats, more militaristic 
than the militarists. During the war he was a fanatic Nationalist and 
a pan-German annexationist. In 1916 he secured control of the 
Scherle-verlag, one of the three great newspaper trusts of Berlin 
(Ullstein and Mosse were the other two). After the war, with his 
inflation profits, he purchased the Ufa filrfl trust (Universum Film 
Aktiengesellschaft) and acquired newspapers all over Germany. In 
his papers, in his news agency the Telegraphen Union in his 
movies, in his -Ufa Wochenschau he preached revenge, counter- 
revolution, and the repudiation of pacifism, internationalism, social- 
ism, and democracy. His was a power greater than Rothermere's or 
Beaverbrook's in England, greater than Scripps-Howard's or Hearst's 
in the United States. On October 21, 1928, this bitter, ambitious, and 
energetic little man with the walrus moustaches was elected sole 
chairman of the German National People's Party. He remained leader 
of the party until its destruction at the hands of its Nazi allies, with 
whom it co-operated in destroying the republic. Here was the indus- 
trialist preacher of reaction par excellence, who made money by 
preaching reaction and who sought to secure more profits and power 
by putting reaction in the control of the Reich. 

In 1931 Hugenberg felt that he could play with the Nazi fire with- 
out being burned. On October 13 the Reichstag reconvened. Briining 
demanded an end of party politics and threatened stern measures 
against opponents. Hitler, rather prematurely in view of the political 
situation, announced the readiness of the NSDAP to take over the 
government. On the i4th the Nazis and Nationalists returned to the 
chamber, but remained only long enough to hear their own speakers 


assail the Cabinet. The ostentatious entrances and exits of the Nazi 
deputies caused the parliamentary leader of the Communists, Ernst 
Torgler, to suggest ironically that an escalator should be installed 
for their convenience. Briining's prestige with the middle parties 
was slightly enhanced by unmistakable evidences of Hindenburg's 
full support of the Chancellor. Again the Socialists saved the day 
for the Cabinet. Non-confidence motions were defeated 295 to 270, 
on October 16, and the Reichstag adjourned once more to February 
23. Parliamentary government in Germany was already dying. 
Legislation was enacted by "emergency decrees" of the Cabinet. The 
members of the Reichstag no longer deliberated or passed laws. 
Between mid-summer of 1930 and February of 1932, a period of 
eighteen months, the Reichstag had been in session less than ten 
weeks. If the Harzburg allies could not kill parliamentary govern- 
ment at a blow, they could slowly strangle it to death. 

On October 18, 1931, 30,000 Nazis assembled in Brunswick. In the 
rioting which followed their invasion of the proletarian quarters, 
one man was killed. Hitler reviewed a five-hour parade of storm 
troopers while Nazi planes circled overhead. He expressed complete 
confidence: "The great hour when the disgrace of 1918 will be wiped 
out will surely come. Behind us today stand more than twelve 
million Germans, convinced that a solution of the German question 
can only come through the power of our united front. We have firm 
faith in our victory. Through the Nationalsocialist Party Germany 
will win freedom." On November i the NSDAP scored another 
electoral success in Mecklenburg-Schwerin and on November 8 still 
another in Bremerhaven. On November 15 the party doubled its 
September 1930 vote in Hesse, increased its representation in the 
Diet from i to 30, became the largest party in the state, and wiped 
out the majority of the Socialist-Centrist-Democratic coalition. Ten 
days later the Prussian Ministry of the Interior published alleged 
plans of the Nazi deputies in Hesse for a dictatorship and a reign 
of terror, but this demarche had little effect save to precipitate new 
police raids on the Munich Braunhaus and on the Nazi headquarters 
in Hamburg. No "incriminating" evidence was discovered. Undis- 
turbed, Hitler warned his followers once more against violence: "Do 
not allow yourselves to be provoked, incited, or led astray. He who 
fails in the last testing days is unworthy of witnessing the victory." 
On December i, while Nazis assaulted Jews in the Berlin ghetto, the 


Braunhaus issued membership card No. 700,000 and Hitler an- 
nounce that the party would be limited to a million members. 

During December 1931 Der Fiihrer irritated the Chancellor by 
sending Rosenberg to London, where he conferred with Lord Lloyd, 
leader of the high Tories, and by consulting informally in Berlin 
with foreign representatives journalists, diplomats, and bankers. 
Hitler usually stayed in the luxurious Kaiserhof Hotel on Wilhelm- 
platz, close to the Ministry building. In interviews he assured the 
world that the Nazis, once in power, would recognize private debts, 
but would discontinue all reparation payments. In an Associated 
Press interview of December 6 he ridiculed all talk of a putsch or a 
"march on Berlin" and declared that the party would conquer by 
legal means. When questioned as to his economic program, he de- 
clared: "We do not propose to divulge our economic ideas until we 
are in control of the situation and can give effect to them." * In a 
syndicated and copyrighted article published in many foreign papers, 
he denounced the Treaty of Versailles, preached honesty, frugality, 
and discipline, predicted the early collapse of the Briining regime, 
and asserted (falsely) that seventy-five per cent of his supporters 
were proletarians. "Spring is surely coming for our poor unhappy 
Germans, but we cherish no illusions that the beginnings of our 
regime will be easy. However, we are entering on this effort with a 
solemn determination to give Germany back to the Germans." 2 

Such tactics encouraged Hitler's followers, but did not facilitate 
that co-operation with the Centrum which some leaders on both sides 
believed possible. Negotiations looking toward such a combination 
were proceeding in Hesse, where the Nazi victory had destroyed 
every other possible basis for a coalition ministry. On December 8 
new decrees cut rents and food prices ten per cent, reduced wages to 
the level of January i, 1927, cut interest rates on mortgages, delayed 
foreclosures, and increased the turnover tax. Other decrees forbade 
the wearing of all political uniforms, prohibited political meetings 
and demonstrations until January 2, 1932, and provided jail sentences 
for defaming public officials. Coming out of his seclusion of many 
weeks, Briining denounced Hitler in a broadcast and asserted: "The 
tendency to regard politics from the emotional viewpoint, however 
deeply rooted in the German soul, must never get the upper hand of 

1 New Yor% Times, December 7, 1931. 

2 Ibid., December 8, 1931. 


cool deliberation or there will be an end of Germany." Hitler en- 
deavoured to reply to this statement, using the foreign press once 
more as his sounding-board. He was denied the use of radio facilities 
for a projected transatlantic broadcast, and Karl Severing hinted 
darkly that he might be deported from Prussia as an undesirable 
alien. Gregor Strasser, in an address at Stuttgart on December n, 
poured oil on the flames: 

"Let no one talk to us of mercy. No mercy has ever been shown to 
us. We shall be hard, ruthless, and brutal in cleaning up the trash of 
the past twelve years, and we shall not yield an inch that would be 
admitting that we had been wrong. Nobody will be forced to cry 
'Heil Hitler!' but anyone daring to shout 'Hurrah for Moscow!' will 
be annihilated." 

Two days later Hitler and his immediate subordinates hurriedly 
left the Kaiserhof Hotel and proceeded to Munich. It was reported 
that under the pressure of certain Ruhr industrialists Der Fiihrer had 
decided to adopt a more moderate tone in order to facilitate a Nazi- 
Centrist agreement, but had been opposed by most of his aides. 
While the Reich sbanner, the Social Democrats, and the General 
Federation of Labour pledged anew their support of Briining and 
their determination to fight Fascism to the death, Hitler published a 
long open letter to the Chancellor, assailing him once more for his 
emergency decrees and his reliance upon Socialist support. In his 
New Year's Day message Hitler emphasized again his "legality," 
insisted that the NSDAP was Germany's only salvation from Bol- 
shevism, and appealed confidently to his supporters: "On to victory, 
without fear or blame, we will charge through hell, death, and 


"I DO not act from personal ambition, but from consciousness of my 
responsibility to Germany and my sense of duty. In consenting to 
have my name placed in nomination, I hope to be able with my last 
strength to serve what all my life I. have held high and sacred: the 

With these words Hindenburg, on February 16, 1932, accepted his 
renomination for the presidency of the Reich. Dr. Heinrich Salm, 
Mayor of Berlin, presented a petition signed by three million sup- 


porters to the old Field Marshal. Chancellor Briining and the Social 
Democratic Party supported him for re-election in the name of saving 
the republic from Fascism and reaction. Briining had endeavoured to 
avoid an election. Early in January he had proposed an indefinite 
extension of Hindenburg's term, which would expire in May. Such 
action, he believed, could be taken lawfully by two-thirds of the 
Reichstag. The Social Democrats were willing to co-operate. The 
Chancellor sought to secure Nazi acquiescence in a meeting with 
Hitler on January 8. But when Hitler and Hugenberg refused to 
consent, Briining was obliged to drop this plan. In an elaborate 
memorandum Hitler argued that any such arrangement would be 
"unconstitutional." Hindenburg was accordingly renominated as a 
"non-party" candidate, assured of the support of all friends of the 
Weimar regime. 

Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hinden- 
burg, who, more than any other single individual, was destined to 
be responsible for the delivery of the German republic to Fascism, 
was a typical member of the landed nobility. He accepted uncriti- 
cally the values and ideals of his class and identified its interests with 
those of the Fatherland. These interests he served to the best of his 
ability all of his long life. Born October 2, 1847, in Posen, he was the 
heir of a line of feudal lords, long since impoverished. One of the 
Hindenburgs had been awarded an estate by Frederick the Great 
for losing a leg in the Silesian War. The Beneckendorffs were Teu- 
tonic Knights. Both families lived by the toil of their peasants and 
served the State as soldiers. The names were united with royal con- 
sent in 1789. Young Paul lived with soldiers constantly and was sent 
away to cadet school at the age of eleven. His parents gave him a 
faith in God, the Fatherland, and the Prussian kings which he never 
questioned. He admired the military brutality to which he was sub- 
jected and once boasted that since his days as a cadet he had never 
read a book which did not deal with military affairs. In 1866 he 
graduated and became a Prussian officer at Danzig and later at Pots- 
dam. At Sadowa he was stunned by a bullet in leading a charge 
against the Austrian artillery and was decorated for his bravery. 
In the Franco-Prussian War he again distinguished himself and 
received the Iron Cross. Then for forty years he lived with garrisons, 
taught tactics, and drilled regiments, stolidly, thoroughly, without 
brilliance, rising step by step through seniority promotions to the 


rank of Lieutenant-General. In 1911 he retired from active service 
and prepared to spend his declining years in peace and quiet. 

This obscure Junker General became a national hero overnight in 
1914. Summoned from his retirement to assume command despite 
his sixty-seven years, he replaced General von Prittwitz as Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Eighth Army, facing the Russian invaders 
of East Prussia. He accepted the suggestions of Ludendorflf and 
adopted the plan of attack worked out and executed by General 
von Francois. Samsonoff's army of invasion was destroyed near 
Tannenberg, August 27-31, 1914. Hindenburg had signed the de- 
cisive orders and was hailed by the nation as a military genius and 
a saviour of the Fatherland. This fable * became the basis of a great 
myth which waxed steadily in grandeur and persisted unimpaired 
until the end of Hindenburg's life and for a long time thereafter. 
His war career need not be reviewed here, except to notice that he 
became Chief of the General Staff in the autumn of 1916 and was 
used as a political tool by the extreme annexationists. With Luden- 
dorflf he planned the great offensive of 1918. On March 21, following 
the defeat of the British east of Amiens, he was awarded the "Iron 
Cross with Golden Rays" by the Kaiser, a symbol of final victory 
created for Bliicher after Waterloo and never subsequently offered 
to anyone until 1918. But prospective triumph turned into defeat. 
Hindenburg and Ludendorff, needlessly panic-stricken at the mili- 
tary situation, insisted upon an armistice at the end of September. 
The "stab in the back" came not from the revolutionists at home, 
but from the General Staff, which realized too late, at the end of 
October, that its demands had compelled the civil authorities in 
Berlin to surrender and to commit the disastrous diplomatic blunder 
of the armistice. When revolution came, Ludendorff fled in disguise 
to Sweden. Hindenburg, however, remained at his post and super- 
vised the execution of the armistice, thereby restoring the bright 
lustre of the legend which had gathered around his name. 

In June 1919 he retired, presumably for the last time, though in 
March of 1920 he was not above asking the permission of the Kaiser 
at Doom to accept a candidacy for the presidency of the Reich, 
should it be offered to him. The offer did not come. Hindenburg, 

1 For a critical evaluation of Hindenburg's military career, see Margaret L. Goldsmith 
and Frederick Yoigt: Hindenburg, The Man and the Legend (London: Faber; 1930), 
pp. 68-188. 


living in Hanover, devoted himself to hunting, collecting pictures 
of the Madonna, and writing his memoirs. Unlike Ludendorff, he 
remained aloof from politics and engaged in no anti-republican 
conspiracies. Only once did he appear in public at a Nationalist 
parade in Konigsberg in June 1922. In March 1925 he was prevailed 
upon to become a candidate for the presidency and to lend his magic 
name to the cause of reaction. In May the old monarchist became 
President of the republic. He betrayed his monarchist supporters and 
for seven years remained loyal to Weimar. In the summer of 1929 a 
three-mark coin was struck off to commemorate the tenth anniversary 
of the Weimar Constitution. On it appeared a bust of Hindenburg, 
an image of his hand raised in solemn oath, and the caption: "True 
to the Constitution." But it was he who was to betray his republican 
supporters in 1932 and to deliver the Reich into the hands of the 
aristocratic reactionaries. Then, in 1933, when these groups seemed 
no longer able or willing to regard the profits of the Junkers and the 
interests of the Hindenburg family as identical with the interests of 
the nation, the "Old Gentleman" was to deliver the Reich to Hitler. 

In the political jockeying which followed Hindenburg's nomina- 
tion to succeed himself, the "Harzburg Front" temporarily broke 
down. On December 5 Hitler had declared that under no circum- 
stances would he be a candidate. When asked what his party proposed 
to do in the event of an election, he replied enigmatically: "That 
eventuality is already provided for." In fact nothing was provided 
for. On January 12, 1932, the executive committee of the Communist 
Party nominated as its candidate for the presidency its perennial 
leader, Ernst Thalmann, Hamburg transport worker. 1 He declared 
that Briining was as much a Fascist as Hitler, with only a difference 
in tempo between them, and denounced the Social Democrats for 
supporting Hindenburg and thus playing into the hands of the 
enemy. He presented himself as "the candidate of the struggle against 
imperialist war." Late in January the Reichsverband der Industrie, 
the Kyffhauserbund, the Stahlhelm, and the "Iron Front" of the 
trade unions, the Social Democrats, and the Reichsbanner all indi- 
cated that they would support Hindenburg. What Hitler and Hugen- 
berg would do remained uncertain. 

On February 5 Reichswehr Minister Groener announced that the 
ban on the entrance of members of the NSDAP into the army had 

1 Cf. Peter Maslowski: Thalmann (Leipzig: Kittler; 1932). 


been lifted. Only Communists were henceforth to be barred. This 
decision was apparently a result of secret conferences between Hitler 
and various Reichswehr officers. His intermediary was General Kurt 
von Schleicher, an obscure and mysterious military bureaucrat in the 
Reichswehrministerium. This bland and smiling "office-General" 
encouraged the impression that he was a powerful "man behind the 
scenes" who had had a hand in the original appointment of the 
Briining Cabinet. 1 That he was constantly engaged in hidden politi- 
cal intrigues is certain. Hitler perceived that he might be useful. 
Whether he was responsible for Groener's action of February 5 is 
uncertain. But on the same day Hanfstangl saw fit to declare that 
Hitler was not seeking the presidency, but desired to drive a wedge 
between Briining and Hindenburg, in order that Groener might be 
made Chancellor, with Hitler as a member of the new Cabinet. This 
effort failed, as did Hitler's attempts to reach an understanding with 
Hugenberg. The Nationalist leader at length made an agreement 
with the Stahlhelm, whereby its leader, Theodor Duesterberg, would 
be their common candidate. 

At this juncture, on February 22, Hitler announced his own can- 
didacy. There was a legal difficulty to be overcome, however. Hitler 
was still an alien. He denied allegations that he had sought to acquire 
German citizenship by having Frick appoint him as a police com- 
missioner in Thuringia. Dietrich Klagges, the Nazi Minister of the 
Interior in Brunswick, considered appointing him a professor in 
Brunswick Hochschule for this purpose. But on February 25 he was 
named attache to the Berlin Legation of the State of Brunswick and 
ipso facto became a German citizen, eligible for the presidency. On 
February 23 the Reichstag met. Goebbels denounced the Social 
Democrats as "the party of deserters" and asserted that Hindenburg 
was supported by "superannuated excellencies of the Stone Age." 
He was excluded from the session for insulting the Reichspresident. 
The Reichstag fixed March 13 as the date of the election, with a 
second election on April 10 if no candidate received a majority. A 
non-confidence motion was defeated 289 to 264. Briining hurled his 
defiance at the Nationalists and Nazis who walked out of the cham- 
ber. Parliament adjourned sine die on February 26. 

The campaign was turbulent and hotly contested. Privately Hitler 

1 Rudolf Fischer: Schleicher-Mythos und Wirltfichf(cit (Hamburg: HanseatLscher 
Vcrlag; 1933)- 


probably had no hope of being elected. To run without the support 
of the Nationalists and the Stahlhelm against the legendary Hinden- 
burg was dangerous. But to support Hindenburg as the candidate of 
Bruning and Social Democracy was impossible. In any case, Hitler 
would be the centre of attention. The Socialist leaders knew that 
their support of Hindenburg would alienate many of their followers. 
They therefore directed their campaign against Hitler, rather than 
for Hindenburg. With tremendous energy and efficiency the party 
machine of the NSDAP strove to roll up as large a vote for Der 
Fiihrer as possible. No less than 120,000 Nazi meetings were held 
throughout the Reich an average of 3,000 a day. A million Nazi 
posters were printed, as well as eight million pamphlets and twelve 
million extra editions of party papers. Hugenberg used UFA films 
to campaign for Duesterberg, who came out openly in favour of 
monarchical restoration. The Cabinet monopolized radio facilities 
for Hindenburg, a circumstance which caused Hitler later to contest 
the validity of the election. The President made only one speech, 
broadcast on March 10. He sought to refute critics and denied that 
he was a clerical-Socialist candidate. 

"Had I refused, the danger would have arisen that, owing to seri- 
ous party differences, owing especially to dissension among the 
Rightists, the radical Rightist candidate or one of the radical Lefts 
would be elected on the second ballot. Election of a party man, 
representing one-sided extremist views, who would consequently 
have the majority of the people against him, would expose the 
Fatherland to serious disturbances, whose outcome would be incal- 
culable. Duty commanded me to prevent this. ... If I am re-elected, 
I shall owe responsibility only to my God, my conscience, and my 
'fatherland. Thus I can take office as trustee for the nation. . . . 
Remember 1914! . . . The responsibility that made me hold out in 
the war until I brought my troops home, the responsibility that 
guided me as the President of the nation in the most difficult deci- 
sions, this responsibility impels me now to hold out again to serve 
the German nation in true faithfulness. To give my last remaining 
strength for this purpose I offer myself again. That is the meaning 
and aim of my candidacy." l 

1 The New Yor% Times, March n, 1932. 


The balloting of March 13 resulted as follows: 


Qualified Voters 43,949,681 Percent 

Voted 37*890,451 86.2 

Paul von Hindenburg 18,651,497 49.6 

Adolf Hitler 11,339,446 30.1 

Ernst Thalmann 4*983,341 13.2 

Theodor Duesterberg 2,557,729 6.8 

Adolf Winter 111*423 0.3 

Hindenburg thus failed to secure the necessary majority by the 
narrow margin of less than half of one per cent. The Communists 
had gained almost four hundred thousand votes since September, 
1930. Duesterberg's showing was disappointing. Hitler's vote, while 
insufficient to elect him, was nevertheless impressive, though it was 
generally interpreted (erroneously) to represent the high point of 
Nazi strength. The NSDAP had gained almost five million converts 
since September 1930. In none of the thirty-five electoral districts did 
Hitler secure a majority. He secured a larger vote than Hindenburg 
in three frontier districts, however: Pomerania, 37.4 per cent; Schles- 
wig-Holstein, 42.7 per cent; and Chemnitz-Zwickau, 40.9 per cent. 

On March 14 Hindenburg and Hitler both announced their candi- 
dacies for the second election. 2 Hugenberg declared that his followers 
were prepared to have Parliament validate the results of the first 
election, on condition that the Reichstag should be dissolved. His 
proposal was ignored. The Nationalist leader found himself isolated 
and decided to restore the "Harzburg Front." Duesterberg withdrew 
from the race, and the Nationalists swung over to Hitler. The Stahl- 
helm leaders, however, refused to co-operate and left their followers 
free to vote as they pleased. The Social Democrats claimed credit for 
Hindenburg's victory and redoubled their efforts to ensure his tri- 
umph in the second balloting. On March 17 Karl Severing, Socialist 

1 Das Gesamtergebms der Wahl des Reichsprdsidenten am 13 Mdrz und 10 April, 
1932 (Berlin: Statistisches Rcichsamt; 1932). 

2 Cf. Joseph Goebbels: Vom Kaiserhof zur Rcich$1(anzlci (Munich: Eher; 1934), pp. 


Minister of the Interior of Prussia, ordered his police to raid all Nazi 
headquarters. The homes of Nazi leaders were also broken into, and 
many files of documents confiscated. Severing announced the "dis- 
covery" of a plot whereby the S.A., then estimated to number 
five hundred thousand members, was to be mobilized for the revolu- 
tionary seizure of power by the code signal: "Grandmother dead." 
Hitler denied the allegation and sent Goring to Groener with new 
professions of "legality." Even the liberal press criticized Severing's 
stupidity. Hitler sued before the Supreme Court for an injunction 
against Severing, with the result that the Minister agreed to return 
the documents and records, on condition that the suit be dropped. 
The only effect of this stroke was that certain aspects of the military 
and espionage organization of the S.A. were revealed. It likewise 
appeared that the NSDAP had possibly planned to unleash the storm 
troopers against the Communists, in the event of Hitler's election. 
But Severing undoubtedly gained more voters for Der Fiihrer than 
he frightened away. 

The second campaign was almost as hard fought as the first, though 
there was little doubt of Hindenburg's election. Hitler spoke every- 
where, championing autarchy, superpatriotism, family life, and 
morality. To women in the Lustgarten he promised husbands and 
homes, to burghers in Potsdam a revival of the military spirit, to 
wage-earners in the Rhineland a new workers' State, and to peasants 
in the eastern marches a restoration of their prosperity. Briining 
campaigned actively for Hindenburg, as did the Social Democrats. 
Hitler's demand for radio facilities was refused. The Munich V.B. 
was suspended for a week for insulting the government. Two Hitler 
meetings in Munich were banned by the police, and Rohm was for- 
bidden to mobilize the local storm troopers for election purposes. 
Despite these restrictions, Hitler increased his vote by more than two 


Qualified Voters 44,063,958 Per cent 

Voted 3 6 >77 r >7 8 7 83.5 

Paul von Hindenburg I 9>359>9%3 53- 

Adolf Hitler 13,418,547 36.8 

Ernst Thalmann 3>76>759 10.2 

1 Das Gesamtergcbnis der Wahl des Rcichsprfaidenten am 13 Marz and zo April, /9J2. 


Hindenburg was thus elected by an absolute majority, while Thai- 
mann lost over a million votes and most of Duesterberg's supporters 
went over to the Nazis. Undaunted, Hitler made preparations at once 
for the state elections scheduled for April 24. In apprehension, the 
Socialist Premier of Prussia, Otto Braun, demanded the dissolution 
of the S.A. He was ignored. Nevertheless, effective pressure was now 
brought to bear on Briining and Hindenburg toward this end. The 
Social Democrats may have threatened to withdraw their continued 
support in the Reichstag. Severing's "documents" were not taken 
seriously. Possibly Briining himself decided (much too late) that 
effective action should at last be taken against the Nazis. Or perhaps 
General von Schleicher had a hand in the situation. In the dense 
atmosphere of intrigue and conspiracy which now began to envelop 
the government of the Reich it became increasingly difficult to ascer- 
tain who was pulling which strings for what purposes. In any case, 
Hindenburg, on April 13, signed a decree, again under Article 48, 
dissolving the S.A. The Munich Braunhaus was once more occupied 
by the police. The Hitler Jugend was likewise banned. Throughout 
the nation police forces raided and padlocked the headquarters of the 
storm troopers, confiscating uniforms, arms, and other equipment.^ 

This was the most serious blow ever struck at the NSDAP in the 
name of protecting the republic. But the Chancellor who acted was 
too "objective" and indecisive to scotch the Nazi hydra, and the Presi- 
dent who signed the decree was on the point of betraying all who 
had elected him. Hitler urged his followers to work all the harder for 
the Diet elections and challenged the legality of the S.A. prohibition 
in the courts. The campaign now became bitter in the extreme. On 
April 23 Otto Wels, leader of Social Democracy, was assaulted and 
severely beaten by Nazis in Cologne. Twenty of the offenders were 
arrested. Two leaders were subsequently sentenced to jail: Herr 
Fuchs for five months and Robert Ley for three. The Diet elections 
of the 24th resulted in a Nazi landslide. In four of the five states 
where new legislatures were chosen, the NSDAP became the largest 
single party: Prussia, Wiirttemberg, Hamburg, and Anhalt. In Ba- 
varia the Nazi votes were barely exceeded by those cast for the 
Bavarian People's Party. In Prussia, where the last Landtag election 
had been held on May 20, 1928, the Hitlerites polled a million votes 
more than they had received on March 13. The Weimar Coalition 
was demolished. The Socialist deputies were reduced from 137 to 93, 


the Nationalists from 82 to 31, the Centrists from 71 to 67, the State 
Party from 21 to 2, the German People's Party from 40 to 7, and the 
Economic Party from 21 to o. The Communists increased their 
deputies from 56 to 57 and the Nazis from 6 to 162. 

This new Nazi victory further increased political tension. On 
May 4 the Communist free thinkers' societies were officially dissolved 
for promoting atheism. On May 9 the Reichstag reconvened. On the 
nth the Nazi members launched a furious attack on Briining and 
Groener. Goebbels, Frick, and Gregor Strasser bitterly denounced 
the Reichswehr Minister, whom they accused of suppressing the S.A. 
In the Reichstag restaurant several Nazi deputies, including Gregor 
Strasser, beat up a Socialist journalist. (Three of them were subse- 
quently sentenced to three months in jail, though Strasser was ac- 
quitted.) The culprits, when expelled from the session, refused to 
leave. They were ejected by the police, amid scenes of disorder. 
Briining, however, still retained a safe majority. A non-confidence 
motion was defeated 287 to 257. President Lobe then adjourned the 
Reichstag till June 6. On May 12 Groener resigned his post as Reichs- 
wehr Minister, retaining, however, his portfolio in the Ministry of 
the Interior. He denied that he was forced out as a result of an 
intrigue of generals. Schleicher in his office continued to smile in 
silence. On May 24, when the Prussian Landtag met, the deadlock 
created by the election remained unbroken, with all efforts to form 
a Nazi-Centrist coalition unsuccessful. When a Communist speaker 
on the 25th accused the Nazis of harbouring murderers in their 
ranks, he was assaulted by a hundred and fifty Nazi deputies. Fifty 
Communists rushed to his rescue, and in the ensuing battle the 
chamber was wrecked and the Communists were gradually driven 
from the hall by the superior numbers of the enemy. The Prussian 
Cabinet of Braun and Severing remained in office without a ma- 

Meanwhile the secret plottings which were to culminate in the dis- 
missal of the Chancellor and the delivery of the republic into the 
hands of feudal reaction were already well under way. Precisely what 
occurred behind the scenes is still unclear. Hindenburg was prevailed 
upon to drop Briining, to repudiate the Centrists and Social Demo- 
crats who had re-elected him to the presidency, and to make himself 
the tool of fantastic reactionary intrigues. Schleicher later boasted 
that he had "made" Briining and broken him and had elevated 


Groener to his post and then removed him. He likewise asserted that 
he engineered the construction of the Papen Cabinet even before the 
presidential election. 1 Whatever his precise role in influencing the 
President, there were other important elements in the situation. 
Schleicher was a friend of Dr. Otto Meissner, the Secretary of State 
to the President. He was also a friend of the President's son, Colonel 
Oskar von Hindenburg. And he was an intimate of Franz von Papen. 
Here were the strands of the Junker-militarist spider-web which was 
to ensnare Briining and to draw the government of the Reich into a 
tangle of reactionary conspiracies. 

In East Prussia, Hindenburg had many friends among his Junker 
neighbours. It was they who had raised funds from the indus- 
trialists by public subscription and presented the deed of the Gut 
Neudeck to the Field Marshal on his eightieth birthday, October 
3, 1927. The estate was small, poor, and debt-ridden, but it had 
once been the ancestral home of the family, and the President deeply 
appreciated the gift. Herr von Oldenburg-Januschau had taken the 
initiative in this matter. He persuaded his neighbours that the offer- 
ing would be an ideal means of ensuring Hindenburg's loyalty to 
the Junkers. In view of the President's advanced age, the gift was 
in form made to the President's son Oskar as a means of escaping 
the inheritance tax. To Neudeck Hindenburg habitually retired to 
rest and to meet his friends and neighbours. Most of them identified 
their own class interests as agrarian aristocrats with those of the 
nation. They wanted protective tariffs on foodstuffs, and subsidies 
from the public treasury with which to pay their debts and enlarge 
their estates. Any deviation from these policies they denounced as 
"agrarian Bolshevism." These interests were Hindenburg's interests 
for was he not too, through his son, an estate-owner ? If Neudeck 
cost Oskar fifty thousand dollars a year to maintain, so much the 
better. The impoverished Hindenburgs should know the "poverty" 
of all the Junkers. As militarists and monarchists, these blue-blooded 
nobles of the east were always prepared to tolerate any cabinet which 

1 The Berlin Diaries, May 30, 1932-Jannary 30, 1933; Helmut Klotz, editor (New 
York: Morrow, 1934); pp. 27-40, This anonymous work is alleged to have been 
written in part by a general in the Ministry of Defence. Whether or not this is true, the 
author (or authors) had access to certain sources of information regarding the political 
intrigues of 1932 which were not available to outside observers. The allegations in the 
book must of course be used with caution in the absence of reliable evidence of their 
truth or falsity. 


protected their interests and to do what they could to overthrow 
any cabinet which ignored them. Oskar was their agent. Dr. Meiss- 
ner was their friend. Franz von Papen was an honoured guest. And 
it was upon these three that the "Old Gentleman" of Neudeck relied 
for advice. 

Another source of pressure was the Herren Klub. This was one 
of a number of fashionable social clubs catering to the landed and 
moneyed elite. It had been founded in 1924. Its club-house was 
located in Berlin on Pariserplatz, between the Brandenburg Gate 
and Wilhelmstrasse, conveniently near the centres of power. Dr. 
Meissner was an influential member. Schleicher had entree as a 
member of the executive committee of the National Clubs, a kind 
of loose federation of some seventy fashionable groups throughout 
Prussia. Here, in March 1930, the President of the Herren Klub, 
Count Bodo von Alvensleben, and his good friend Franz von Papen 
had called a meeting of influential reactionary gentlemen Prince 
Lowenstein, Count Westarp, Count Keyserling, General von 
Schleicher, Baron Wilhelm von Gayl, and many others to sponsor 
a semi-religious crusade against Bolshevism. They founded the 
Bund zum Schutze der Abendlandischen Kultur, under the leader- 
ship of Werner von Alvensleben, brother of Bodo, and organized 
meetings against "Kultur-Bolschewismus." 1 In 1932 the Herren 
Klub president, Freiherr Heinrich von Gleichen, repeatedly assailed 
the Briining Cabinet in his conservative weekly, Der Ring. 

Here, evidently on Schleicher's initiative, the conspiracy to unseat 
Briining was hatched by monocled aristocrats, business men, and 
generals, who perceived from the course of events that their hour 
of power had come. Many gentlemen of this type were not at all 
hostile to the Nazis. Werner von Alvensleben considered joining 
the party. Oldenburg-Januschau said, as early as February 1931: 
"If I were not Nationalist, I might be a Nazi!" And Prince August 
Wilhelm, in June of the same year, declared: "Where a Hitler leads, 
a Hohenzollern can follow." But for the present, politically minded 
Junkers and industrialists preferred to play Schleicher's game. The 
sly and unscrupulous General enjoyed intrigue for its own sake 
and for the sake of the control of the Reichswehr, which he coveted. 

1 Walther Schottc: Das Kabinett Papen, Schleicher, Gayl (Leipzig: Kittlcr; 1932), 
pp. 1-15; Edgar Schmidt-Pauli: Hitlers Kampf um die Uacht (Berlin: Stilkc; 1933), 
pp. 8-12. 


He revelled in the position of "king-maker." He decided to use as 
his tool Franz von Papen: wealthy, polished, a Catholic, a con- 
servative, a diplomat, an army officer. Papen was a friend of Hinden- 
burg's and could doubtless make a bargain with the Nazis which 
would ensure their support for the new order without enabling 
them to gain power. Their thunder would be stolen and they would 
be left helpless. Such was the calculation. Here in the Herren Klub 
a new Cabinet was prepared. 

The exact time of the hatching of the plot is uncertain. There is 
reason to believe that Hindenburg was persuaded to dismiss Briining 
immediately after the election of April 10. For the sake of appear- 
ances, he waited. Schleicher intimated to Hitler early in May that 
the Chancellor would soon be forced out. 1 Briining has never re- 
vealed how much he knew of the intrigue against him. If he knew, 
he still felt safe. He, more than any other man, had re-elected Hin- 
denburg. He still commanded a safe majority in the Reichstag. And 
he could not be dispensed with. After May 13 Hindenburg remained 
at Neudeck, "vacationing." On May 28, in an address on unemploy- 
ment before the Foreign Press Association, Briining outlined a new 
plan of a lottery loan, voluntary labour service, and the settlement 
of some of the jobless on the land through the division of certain 
of the large estates. New decrees were in prospect. 

This was more than the Junkers could stand. On Sunday, May 
29, 1932, the Nazis won a majority in the Diet election in Oldenburg. 
On the same day the President, again in Berlin, conferred for almost 
five hours with his Chancellor. Briining desired support of his pro- 
gram and a free hand in reconstructing the Cabinet before his pro- 
jected departure for the reparations conference at Lausanne. Hinden- 
burg accused him of "agrarian Bolshevism" and finally made it 
clear that he expected him to resign. He offered him tentatively the 
post of Foreign Minister in a new cabinet. Briining declined: "I also 
have honour and a name to protect." 

Briining departed coldly and called his Ministers together in the 
evening. It was apparently decided that the whole Cabinet should 
resign. Bruning perhaps hoped that this threat would move the 
Field Marshal to reconsider. On Monday morning, May 30, the 
Chancellor offered the President the formal resignation of the entire 
Cabinet. To the Chancellor's chagrin, Hindenburg accepted it at 

l J. Gocbbcls: Vom Kaiserhoj zur Reichsk.anzlei t pp. 90-4. 


once. Briining is reported to have said: "I give you herewith, Herr 
President, our formal resignation. It is exactly seven weeks since 
your re-election." Hindenburg made no reply. Briining departed. 1 
The President went through the formality of summoning party 
leaders before announcing the new Cabinet. He conferred for an 
hour with Hitler. Der Fiihrer was assured that the ban on the S.A. 
would be lifted and that the Reichstag would be dissolved if the 
Nazis would tolerate the new government. He agreed. Promises 
were easy. On Tuesday, May 31, Franz von Papen was named Chan- 
cellor, with Kurt von Schleicher as Reichswehr Minister. The other 
members of the "Barons' Cabinet" were the aristocrats of the Herren 
Klub. Everything was arranged within a few hours. Briining could 
do nothing. He had campaigned for Hindenburg. Social Democracy 
was impotent. It had supported the President loyally and had spent 
three hundred thousand marks of trade-union campaign money, 
donated by the General Federation of Trade Unions, to ensure 
Hindenburg's re-election. Otto Braun went away for his health. 
No one knew what had happened, save that a Chancellor, with a 
safe majority in the Reichstag, was dismissed by the President for 
reasons not clearly specified and that a new Chancellor, who was a 
sworn enemy of Socialism, liberalism, and democracy, had been 
named in his place. But the German republic was here given its 
death-blow not by Hitler, but by a President who had been re-elected 
to save it from Fascism, and by the militarists and aristocrats who 
used the President as their tool. 2 

1 Cf. Schmidt-Pauli, op. cit., pp. 13-20; and Berlin Diaries, pp. 51-4. 

2 It seems scarcely relevant to discuss the "constitutionality" of Hindenburg's action. 
It was clearly the intention of the framers of the Constitution to create a chief execu- 
tive who should act in accordance with the will of parliamentary majorities and who 
should appoint and dismiss his ministers not on the basis of his personal judgments, 
but on the basis of public opinion as expressed in election results and in party align- 
ments in the Reichstag. In this sense Hindenburg certainly violated the Constitution 
in Brtining's dismissal. But all questions of "constitutionality" had already become 
irrelevant. The Weimar document was already a tattered garment worn so thin that 
it was scarcely useful any longer to conceal the naked realities of the struggle for 
power between anti-constitutional feudal reaction and anti-constitutional Nazi fanati- 
cism. On the development of the presidential office in general, see H. J. Heneman: 
The Growth of Executive Power in Germany (Minneapolis: Voyagcur Press; 1934). 




CHANCELLOR Franz von Papen, like his manager, Kurt von 
Schleicher, was an inveterate intriguer who enjoyed conspiracy as 
a pleasurable recreation. He had been an officer of the Uhlans. 
During the war he was a diplomat, a major, a battalion commander, 
and a divisional General Staff officer. In 1914-15 he served as 
military attache in the German Embassy in Washington. In col- 
laboration with Captain Boy-Ed, the German naval attach^, he 
concocted schemes for planting bombs in American cargo ships 
destined for Allied ports, for poisoning horse-fodder, and for blow- 
ing up bridges and canals between the United States and Canada. 
He was exposed when a clever agent of the British Secret Service 
wormed his way into his confidence and into his business. On 
December 28, 1915, he and Boy-Ed were expelled from the United 
States. In April of 1916 he was indicted for a plot to blow up the 
Welland Canal this to ensure his arrest by Federal authorities 
should he ever attempt to return to America. After the war he be- 
came influential in Catholic circles and served as a Centrist deputy 
in the Prussian Landtag and in the Reichstag. But he was a renegade 
in his own party and usually voted with the Right reactionaries. An 
elegant, gracious, suave nonentity, clever to the point of stupidity, he 
was the ideal head of the new "Barons' Cabinet." 

His colleagues came in part from the Herren Klub. Schleicher 
attained his immediate goal, the Reichswehrministerium. Baron 
Wilhelm von Gayl, jurist and agrarian, became Minister of the 
Interior. The Foreign Office went to Constantin von Neurath, 
former Ambassador to London. Lutz von Schwerin-Krosigk be- 



came Minister of Finance; Hermann Warmbold, Minister of Eco- 
nomics; Hugo Schiiffer, Minister of Labour; Franz Gurtner, Min- 
ister of Justice; Paul von Eltz-Riibenach, Minister of Posts; and 
Baron von Braun, Minister of Agriculture and Food. They were 
all eminent feudal gentlemen, monarchists at heart, though pledged 
now to act "within the Constitution." Papen, Gayl, and Braun were 
members of the Herfen Klub, where Schleicher and Krosigk were 
frequent visitors. None was a political leader. Such a Cabinet would 
obviously have no support in the Reichstag. Hindenburg accord- 
ingly dissolved the Reichstag on June 3, explaining that it no longer 
"represented the people." 

On June 9 Gayl spoke before the Reichsrat, denying that the 
Cabinet was "reactionary." The Constitution would be respected, 
but must be "reformed." On the evening of the loth, according to 
an apparently reliable account, Papen spoke privately at the Herren 
Klub before an audience including Goring, Goebbels, Rohm and 
Helldorf, as well as many prominent military figures. His theme 
was the necessity for a Franco-German coalition against Russia as a 
means of achieving German rearmament. The generals were scepti- 
cal, the Nazi leaders enthusiastic. 1 On the nth the Chancellor de- 
livered his first public address before the Agricultural Council : 
" The unprecedented spiritual and material situation of the German 
people demands the liberation of the government from the fetters 
of party politics and partisan doctrines and calls for the consolida- 
tion of all national forces for the rebirth of Germany. ..." The 
"new" program would require sacrifices by "all" classes. On the 
I4th Hindenburg signed a new decree, cutting the appropriations 
for the unemployed five hundred million marks and reducing the 
dole by twenty per cent to an average of about forty marks a 
month. Stipends to wounded veterans were also reduced and new 
taxes were imposed on consumers. What "sacrifices" the Junkers 
and industrialists were expected to make was not specified. 

Hitler meanwhile was chafing over the delay in the promised 
legalization of the S.A. On June 13 he met Papen in Schleicher's 
presence and demanded the immediate repeal of the ban on the 
S.A. The Chancellor was encountering opposition on this score 
from the south German states, but he yielded to Der Fiihrer. On 
June 15 Hindenburg signed the decree permitting the storm troop- 

1 Cf. Berlin Diaries, pp. 55-7. 


ers to wear uniforms once more (all the tailors in Germany re- 
joiced), to parade, and to resume their terrorization of their enemies. 

Protests at the resumption of S.A. activities came from Bavaria 
and Baden, but Papen ignored them. He was nursing plans for 
ousting the Social Democrats from the Prussian Cabinet. The dead- 
lock in the Landtag remained unbroken. He promised Hitler that 
before the end of July the Prussian police would be brought under 
the control of someone friendly toward the NSDAP. On June 23 
Goebbels, in the Berlin Sportpalast, attacked the Chancellor and 
declared that unless the police repressed the Reds, the S.A. would 
be obliged to clear the streets itself. Heines, in Breslau, was even 
more defiant: "If the police don't support us, we will drive them 
to the devil. In one month we'll be the police, and then no one else 
will march!" On the 24th Hitler handed an "ultimatum" to Gayl 
through Goring: Martial law must be proclaimed against the Reds. 
The KPD must be suppressed, and all Marxists must be expelled 
from the police forces. Papen and Schleicher were furious. Hitler 
was impossible. Schleicher found Gregor Strasser more tractable. 
Papen temporized and asked Hitler to restrain his storm troops, 
to lessen the likelihood of disturbances. Brawls and killings con- 
tinued. The suppression for five days of the Socialist Vorwdrts led 
for the first time to a joint Socialist-Communist demonstration on 
July 4. On Sunday, July 10, no fewer than 18 people were killed 
and 200 wounded in Nazi-Communist riots throughout the Reich. 
A week later a battle between storm troopers and Communists at 
Altona, near Hamburg, cost 12 lives, with 50 wounded. Schleicher 
had misgivings. But Papen was prepared to tolerate Nazi terrorism, 
in the hope of securing Hitler's support for the Cabinet after the 
Reichstag election scheduled for July 31. 

The Nazi campaign, opened by Hitler in Tilsit on July 15, was 
soon in full swing. 1 Der Fuhrer promised liberty, honour, and bread. 
Goring assailed Centrists and Marxists alike. Goebbels attacked 
everybody, including the Cabinet. Radio facilities were now avail- 
able to all parties save the Communists, and the NSDAP made 
good use of them. Again its electoral tactics left all its competitors 
in outer darkness. Mass meetings, parades, pageantry, and oratory 
carried the gospel to every corner of the Reich. A gigantic climax 
was reached in the Griinewald Stadium in Berlin on July 27. Hitler 

1 C. Joseph Goebbels: Vom Kaiser ho f zur Reichsfynzlei, pp. 112-35. 


drew an audience of over a hundred thousand which paid from one 
to eight marks per ticket. The gate receipts were four hundred 
thousand marks. The spectacle could only be compared to a world- 
championship prize-fight in the United States, save that it was far 
more colourful and dramatic. Twenty thousand storm troopers 
marched in a torchlight parade. Amid indescribable enthusiasm 
Hitler reiterated the old cliches and promised an end of the party 
system. The vast throng gazed in rapture at the tiny figure under 
the spotlights, waving his arms, pointing his finger heavenward, 
and shaking clenched fists before his pale, perspiring face. All 
listened enthralled to the voice of the Messiah, coming to them 
through microphones and amplifiers. At the finale, as the multitude 
took up the strains of Deiitschland liber Alles, fiery beacons appeared 
on the edges of the stadium, spreading until they joined one another 
and surrounded the whole arena with a ring of red flames. Amid 
echoes of the "Magic Fire Music," the new Wotan dedicated the 
sleeping goddess of German "liberation" to the great awakening 
of the days to come. . . . 

Papen meanwhile had consummated "the rape of Prussia." At a 
secret meeting of notables at the Herren Klub on July 12, Papen 
disclosed his plan. He had convinced himself that the Reich gov- 
ernment could "constitutionally" depose the government of a state. 
He would therefore depose the Socialist Cabinet of Prussia. But he 
must be certain of Reichswehr support. Schleicher was critical. The 
Socialists were still the largest party in the Reich. They controlled 
the sixty thousand police of Prussia. They could summon the trade 
unions, the Reichsbanner, the Communists, the underground "Red 
Front" to their aid. It might be a bloody and dangerous business. 
Papen pooh-poohed. Socialists would not fight. The matter was 
left in abeyance. 1 The Junkers demanded a clean sweep. The 
Socialists were "sabotaging" the Ost-Hilje fund established by 
Briining for agrarian relief; that is, they were withholding public 
money from the greedy and impoverished feudal estate-owners. 
More Bolshevism! 

Papen made his plans. On the i5th he met the Cabinet. Some of 
the Ministers supported him. Others were dubious. Schleicher re- 
iterated his objections. The scales were turned by Oskar, who 
declared that Papa demanded action: "The Reichspresident informs 

1 Berlin Diaries, pp. 92-7. 


the Cabinet that he insists that final and decisive measures should 
be taken to save agriculture from being ruined by the Marxists. 
And that can only be achieved by a Cabinet of the Right in Prus- 
sia!" 1 Oskar, with Papen acquiescing, also told Schleicher that the 
proposed action was part of a bargain with Hitler. Schleicher reluc- 
tantly consented. The reins were already slipping from his hands. 
Two battalions of infantry were stationed at Doberitz in case of 
trouble. Hermann Diels, one of Severing's subordinates, apparently 
acted as Papen's agent provocateur in urging his chiefs to adopt 
courses of action which could be used as excuses for their elimination. 
On July 20 Papen summoned to the chancellery Otto Klepper, 
the Democratic Minister of Finance in Prussia; Heinrich Hirtsiefer, 
Centrist Minister of Public Welfare; and Karl Severing, the Social- 
ist Minister of the Interior. Otto Braun, Prussian Premier since 
1920, was still away. Braun and Severing were good Social Demo- 
crats. 2 They knew what was impending, but had decided to wait. 
Papen told his auditors that Hindenburg had been worried about 
Prussia for some time. In the interest of "law and order" and for 
"reasons of State," Braun and Severing were to be removed from 
office. Papen would become Prussian Premier and Dr. Franz Bracht, 
Mayor of Essen, would be his Deputy Commissioner and Minister 
of the Interior. Severing replied that the Chancellor's action was a 
violation of the Constitution and that he would yield only to violence. 
Papen offered to supply the violence. The interview ended. Papen 
telephoned. A few moments later two decrees, already made out 
and signed by Hindenburg at Neudeck, were issued. The first, in- 
voking the blessed Article 48, named Papen Federal Commissioner 
for Prussia and empowered him to remove ministers from office and 
to act as Prussian Premier. The second decree suspended seven 
articles of the Reich Constitution, guaranteeing personal liberty and 
freedom of speech, press, and assembly. Executive power and con- 
trol of the police in Berlin and Brandenburg were transferred to 
the Reichswehr Minister and the army. Any disobedience would 

1 Berlin Diaries, p. 104. There is at the moment no way of proving that this state- 
ment was actually made, apart from this anonymous political narrative. There can 
be no doubt, however, but that it expressed the President's views. 
2Cf. Erich Cuttncr: Otto Braun (Leipzig: Kittler; 1932); Hans Menzel: Karl 
Severing (Berlin; Hist. Pol. Verl., 1932). 


be punished by heavy penalties, with death for high treason, in- 
cendiarism, armed resistance, or inciting to riot. 1 

Severing returned to his Ministry on Unter den Linden and 
waited. The Socialist Chief of Police, Albert Greszinsky, and his 
aides, Bernard Weiss and Lieutenant-Colonel Magnus Heimanns- 
berg, were also to be ousted. They refused to obey the orders of 
General von Rundstedt, the local Reichswehr commander and also 
waited. At noon a captain and two soldiers padlocked Premier 
Braun's offices. Later another captain and fifteen soldiers arrested 
Greszinsky, Weiss, and Heimannsberg. They were released in the 
evening when they consented to give up their posts. Bracht came 
alone to the Ministry of the Interior and invited Severing to depart. 
Severing refused. Bracht left and returned in the evening with two 
police officers. Severing yielded and went home. 

This coup d'etat was followed by no resistance. All observers, 
including Schleicher, were agreed that if Braun and Severing had 
arrested the Papen Cabinet for violating the Constitution, mobi- 
lized the Prussian police, made common cause with the Communists, 
called a general strike, and fought the coup to the death, their 
chances of success would have been excellent, even against the 
Reichswehr. Such tactics had defeated the Kapp putsch in 1920. But 
all fighting spirit had gone out of German Social Democracy. 
Severing feared to arm the German workers to fight reaction. The 
KPD would then have force at its disposal. By such tactics Kerensky 
in Russia had dug his own political grave. Severing explained that 
he yielded "to avoid bloodshed" and appealed (in vain) to the 
Supreme Court to protect the Constitution. A Communist call for 
a general strike was denounced by the Social Democratic leaders 
as a Hitler ruse. When Severing, less than a year later, found him- 
self in a Nazi concentration camp, his Communist fellow prisoners 
hung a placard around his neck: "On July 20, 1932, I failed to do 
my duty." After such a demonstration of cowardice and impotence 
Hitler knew that when his moment came he would have nothing 
to fear from the Social Democratic and trade-union bureaucracy. 
Papen was gleeful. 2 

1 Texts in J. K. Pollock and H. J. Heneman: The Hitler Decrees (Ann Arbor, Michi- 
gan; Wahr; 1934), pp. 4, 5; also The New York Times, July 21, 1932. 

2 See E. A. Mowrer: Germany Puts the Clock Back, PP- i-n; Berlin Diaries, pp. 
92-122; Walthcr Schottc: Das Kabinett Papen, Schleicher, Gayl, pp. 71-8. 


But the "Barons' Cabinet" needed more than this easy victory 
over the Socialists to keep itself in power. On the night of July 19-20, 
while Papen slept in his bed dreaming of his cleverness, Hitler in his 
private plane was lost in a storm over the Baltic sea coast. He did 
not arrive for a speaking-engagement in Stralsund until 2.30 a.m. 
But forty thousand people had waited in a pouring rain to hear 
him and they listened enchanted to his message until the dawn of 
day. 1 

Papen did not dare to call off the elections and set up a naked 
military dictatorship. Such a move might precipitate proletarian 
resistance or, more probably, a Nazi insurrection. The Old Gentle- 
man was not yet ready to go so far. The interests of the Junkers 
did not demand it. On the 27th Schleicher broadcast his program 
for reorganizing the army into a popular militia. Proposals from 
Rohm and Hitler for military training of the storm troops were 
evaded. In his last radio appeal to the electorate Papen denied any 
intention of establishing a dictatorship, denounced Communism 
and the Treaty of Versailles, and called for a reform of the Consti- 
tution. On the eve of the elections ten more people were killed in 
political riots and the Communist Rote Fahne was suppressed for 
ten days. Not a single Cabinet member was a candidate for the 
Reichstag. The only party which would support the Cabinet was 
Hugenberg's Nationalists, who by no stretch of the imagination 
could secure a majority. The election resulted as follows: 


Qualified Voters 44,226,835 

Voted 37,162,072 or 84.0 per cent 

Total Deputies Elected 608 

Seats Won Popular Votes 

Communist Party 89 5,282,626 

Social Democrats 133 7,959,712 

State Party 4 37 r >799 

Centrum 75 4>59>335 

Bavarian People's Party 22 1,192,684 

Economic Party 2 146,876 

German People's Party 7 436,012 

German National People's Party 37 2,186,051 

NSDAP 230 13,745,781 

1 Otto Dietrich: With Hitler on the Road to Power, pp 35-6. 

2 Die Wahlen zum Reichstag am 31 Juli, 1932, (Berlin: Der Reichswahllciter; 1932). 


The NSDAP had more than doubled its strength since September 
1930. It had won thirty-seven per cent of the electorate and was now 
by a wide margin the largest party in the Reich. In spite of the dis- 
appearance of the Right splinter parties, the Nationalists lost almost 
three hundred thousand votes. The Economic Party was wiped 
out. The State Party and the German People's Party were reduced 
to nullities. The Centrum and the Bavarian People's Party barely 
held their own. The Socialists lost over six hundred thousand votes, 
which the Communists gained. Less than five per cent of the new 
Reichstag supported the Cabinet. No workable majority, no con- 
ceivable coalition was in sight unless Papen could strike a new 
bargain with the NSDAP. 

Papen now declared that the Cabinet would remain in office, since 
no alternative Cabinet could command a majority in parliament. 
Bruning, who was again Centrist leader, toyed with the idea of a 
Black-Brown coalition, with Hitler as Chancellor and himself as 
Vice-Chancellor. Hitler suggested confidentially that Schleicher be- 
come Chancellor, with Nazi support assured for two years, on con- 
dition that three Nazis should be admitted to the Cabinet and 
Hindenburg should be permitted to retire in Hitler's favour. 
Schleicher contributed the following gem to a clarification of the 

"Germany's former error was a false optimism. Dr. Bruning told 
the people the truth, but after a while the masses always become 
unreceptive to asceticism, particularly when they are called upon 
to make sacrifices without understanding why. They will submit 
to the greatest privations, I think, if only one talks the language 
that touches their hearts. What says Hitler? He says: 'I will lead 
you to Italy's flowery plains.' Such a movement must be made use 
of. People, like individuals, need faith. Some people are so afraid 
of responsibility they can't sleep. I'm not. I don't suffer from in- 
somnia either." 1 

Within two years Schleicher would sleep still better, thanks to 
the man with whom he was now willing to negotiate. He met Hitler 
on August 7. The Nazi leader demanded the chancellorship, if not 
the presidency. Schleicher offered him the vice-chancellorship. Hitler 
insisted that Papen and Gayl must go. Bruning would be Foreign 
Minister and Strasser Minister of Labour. But would Hitler's party 

1 Zwolj Uhr Abendblatt, Berlin, August 3, 1932. 


colleagues agree especially Goebbels? Hitler was uncertain. The 
Centrists refused to support any cabinet not including the Nazis. 
Hitler must be "MacDonaldized" that is, tamed by being given 
some share of public responsibility. Rumours spread. Hitler Chan- 
cellor, Strasser Minister of the Interior, Goring Minister of Trans- 
port. . . . Goebbels insisted that Hitler must demand "all" at least 
the chancellorship. Schleicher wondered whether Goring, a mor- 
phine addict and former asylum inmate, could really be admitted 
to the Cabinet. August n was "Constitution Day." Hindenburg 
came in from Neudeck for the celebration. Under no circumstances, 
he told Schleicher and Papen, would he permit Hitler to become 
Chancellor. He refused even to see Hitler but finally consented, 
under pressure, only if Rohm, however, "that homosexual libertine," 
were not brought along. On the nth Gayl and Papen addressed the 
Reichstag and condemned the Constitution. The republic was not 
mentioned. The delegates sang Deutschland iiber Alles. Not yet 
the Horst Wessel Lied. 

Meanwhile Nazi terrorism was attaining unprecedented propor- 
tions. Shootings, bombings, and killings were especially numerous 
in East Prussia. On August 3 the Socialist headquarters in Konigs- 
berg were bombed, an oil station owned by a Socialist was fired, and 
a Communist leader was murdered. The Cabinet warned that dis- 
orders must cease within eighteen hours or special measures would 
be resorted to. The disorders continued. Hitler sought to quiet the 
S.A. leaders. Fifty Berlin policemen were welcomed to an S.A. rally 
by Count Helldorf. More bombings nnd shootings. On the 8th the 
local Reichsbanner leader in Lotzen was murdered by Nazis, who 
blamed the Communists. Killings in Silesia. The Cabinet hesitated. 
But on August 10 Hindenburg at last signed a decree approved by 
the Cabinet. It extended the "political truce" to the end of August, 
forbade all political demonstrations, provided the death penalty 
for political murder and arson, and set up special tribunals to try 
offenders. In the early morning hours of the same day five of Heines's 
storm troopers, after drinking heavily, forced their way into the 
house of a Communist workman in Potempa, one Pietrzuch, shot 
him in bed, and then kicked him to death in the presence of his 
mother, crushing his throat beneath their heavy boots. Reluctantly 
the local police arrested the "patriotic" culprits. 

On August 13 Hitler was received by Hindenburg, thanks to the 


insistence of Schleicher and Papen and the intervention of Oskar. 
Hitler flew from Munich to Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin, where he 
was met by Rohm and Helldorf, who reported their discussion of 
August 12 with Papen. They brought a luncheon invitation from 
the Chancellor. In the morning Hitler saw Schleicher. He was then 
driven to Wilhelmstrasse while thousands cheered. At lunch with 
, Papen he again demanded the chancellorship. Papen hedged and 
left the whole issue to the President. Der Fiihrer was offered the 
vice-chancellorship if the NSDAP would support the Cabinet, but 
as for the chancellorship, Papen must really. . . . Hitler returned 
with Rohm and Frick at four in the afternoon and was received by 
Hindenburg in the presence of Meissner, Schleicher, and Papen. 

According to Meissner, 1 Hitler attempted to bow, fumbled awk- 
wardly with the doorknob, blushed, and stumbled over the rug. 
He began a public speech, but was silenced by Hindenburg. The 
President asked him whether he was willing to enter the Papen 
Cabinet. He refused and insisted on the chancellorship "with the 
same powers as Mussolini was given after his victorious march on 
Rome" (Hitler later denied using this phrase). Hindenburg asserted 
that, in view of Nazi terrorism, he could not deliver the State into 
the hands of the brown shirts. He reminded his guest of the pre- 
election promise to support the Papen Cabinet if the Marxists were 
ousted from the Prussian government. Had Hitler kept his promise ? 
Silence. What would Hitler do now? "Opposition to the last ditch," 
replied Der Fiihrer. Hindenburg was furious: "You are to be then 
in opposition. I trust you will oppose in the way that will be chival- 
rous. And I enjoin you in your future course to keep always in mind 
your duty to the Fatherland and your responsibility to the German 

The President left the room and went back to Neudeck. "Ich will 
meinc Rqhe haben," was a phrase which he now used frequently. 
Schleicher apd Papen had failed to get the Nazis into the Cabinet. 
Hitler hafr failed to secure the chancellorship. He returned to 
Munich. Thie^ party at once launched a vigorous campaign against 
the government. 2 

1 Berlin Diaries, pp. 159-61. 

2 J. Gocbbcls: Vom Kaisfrhof zur Rcichskanzlci, pp. 144-7. 



AFTER August 13, 1932, the decisions before the Herren Klub Cabinet 
were more painful than ever. Should it endeavour to defy the Reichs- 
tag and rule as a "presidential" Cabinet? The Old Gentleman might 
object again. Should it dissolve the Reichstag? Should it hope for 
some bargain whereby the Nazis might after all be persuaded to 
tolerate it? Should it suppress Nazi terrorism and smash the Hit- 
lerites by proceeding openly against them with the police and the 
army ? It did none of these things, but waited hesitantly. The Nazi 
press raged against the Cabinet, but the radicals in the party were 
appeased by Der Fiihrer's demand for all or nothing. Hitler sent 
the S.A. on a week's vacation. On August 16 Count Helldorf ex- 
tended the leaves of the Berlin S.A. till August 28, two days before 
the Reichstag was to assemble. He told his storm troopers: 

"The decision that we as men have been awaiting has been post- 
poned for some time. I well understand that you who have waited 
impatiently will bear uneasily any further delay. . . . [But] nothing 
has changed with respect to the great revolutionary tasks you are 
to perform. There has only been a shift in point of time and I assume 
that within the next few weeks the political premises will have 
been achieved for the Nationalsocialists to take power. To any and 
all objections there is only one answer: We are soldiers of the Na- 
tionalsocialist Party and must obey our leader." * 

Hitler declared that he would never sell his birthright for a mess 
of pottage. "Rather any fight or persecution than to become unfaith- 
ful to myself or the movement." 2 A company of storm troopers 
in Cologne was dissolved for mutiny. From his mountain retreat 
in Berchtesgaden, where his sister, Frau Raubal, kept house for him 
in the cozy cottage, Wachenfeld, Hitler asserted that there would 
be no "march on Berlin." He indulged in interesting mathematics: 
If a party with 51 per cent of the votes was entitled to 100 per cent 
of the Cabinet posts, then a party with 37 per cent of the votes 
ought to get 75 per cent of the posts. Negotiations for a Centrist- 
Nazi coalition in the Prussian Diet continued between Briining and 

1 The New York Times, August 17, 1932. 

2 Interview in Rhcinisch-W 'estfalischc Gazette, the organ of the Ruhr industrialists, 
August 1 6, 1932. 


Strasser but without result, since here, too, the NSDAP demanded 

A new storm broke when the special court at Beuthen sentenced 
the five Potempa murderers to death on August 22. The outcry 
against the judgment in the Nazi press was terrific. Heines ex- 
coriated the verdict. Frank protested to Papen and demanded a 
pardon. Hitler asserted: "My comrades, in the face of this frightful 
bloody sentence and from this instant on, your freedom becomes a 
point of our honour." Der Fiihrer further declared : 

"With this deed our course with respect to the Cabinet is definitely 
set. ... In the face of this enormity, life can have but one meaning 
for us fight and again fight! . . . Herr von Papen, your bloody ob- 
jectivity does not exist for me. I want victory for national Germany 
and annihilation for the Marxists, who have corrupted and de- 
stroyed it." * 

Rohm went to Beuthen and conferred with Schleicher. Goebbels 
screamed: "The Jews are guilty!" Der An griff was suspended for a 
week for its vicious attacks on the Cabinet. At Beuthen the Nazis 
instigated anti-Socialist and anti-Semitic riots. The V.B. sent a spe- 
cial correspondent to interview the prisoners: 

"Murderers? These magnificent fellows? Never! Straight, strong, 
every one of them faithful and unbowed. Joy and grief seize the visi- 
tor at the sight of these good men. Unconscious of any guilt, they are 
joyous like children when gifts are presented to them. They take the 
flowers, cigarettes, and tidbits offered to them in high spirits until 
there comes some news that drives away hilarity. Burn the news- 
papers! Burn the papers of the Jewish jotirnatlle!" 2 

Papen and Schleicher, still hoping against hope for an understand- 
ing with the Nazis, did not dare to permit the sentence to be executed. 
On September 2 the Prussian Cabinet commuted it to life imprison- 
ment. Hitler was still bitter and defiant and promised that the mur- 
derers would receive a full pardon when the Nazis gained power: 

"The Jews and the feudal Herren Klub think they can save Ger- 
many. We won't let you keep power, not if you dissolve the Reichstag 
ten times. These old excellencies won't discourage us. ... My great 
Dpponent is eighty-five years old and I am only forty-three. I am con- 
vinced that nothing will happen to me, because I believe Destiny has 

1 Quoted in The New Yor^ Times, August 24, 1932. 

2 Vdlhjscher Beobachter, August 26, 1932. 


assigned a task to me. And I say that Nationalsocialism will come 
into power through the Constitution." 1 

The Chancellor sought to pave the way for the Reichstag session. 
He must not only somehow win the Nazis, but please the Junkers and 
industrialists as well. The Federation of German Industries opposed 
new public works and urged compulsory labour service as a cure for 
unemployment. On August 25 Papen secretly conferred with Dr. 
Gustav Krupp von Bohlen, Dr. Karl von Siemens, Professor Bosch, 
and many other leading industrialists. In an address at Minister on 
the 28th Papen proposed to rescue the Reich through voluntary labour 
service and more public works. He lunched on the 29th with Hitler 
and Schleicher. The Black-Brown negotiations were still deadlocked 
and there seemed no hope of securing Nazi toleration for the Cabinet. 
In the afternoon Papen, Schleicher, Gayl, and Meissner repaired to 
Ncudeck while industrialists and bankers expressed their approval 
of the Cabinet's plan to subsidize employers to hire additional work- 
ers. On August 29 the Cabinet presented a new demand to the Powers 
for arms equality. On August 31 new tariffs were announced, to be- 
come effective September 6. On many manufactured goods they were 
prohibitive. Food imports were subjected to quotas or to one hundred 
per cent increases in duties. Thus were Junkers and industrialists 
alike placated, with the consumers paying the bill. On September 
34 the Stahlhelm, in the presence of Papen and other Cabinet mem- 
bers, held a great demonstration in the Sportpalast and on Tempel- 
hofer Feld. At least the Stahlhelm could be relied upon! The Nazi 
press sneered. On September 6 Der Angriff and Ludendorff s Vol/(s- 
wiirte attacked Duesterberg as a Jew. On the following day the erst- 
while presidential candidate and Stahlhelm leader resigned his post. 
He had just "discovered" that his mother's father had indeed been 
an Israelite. Since it was obvious that no Jew could be a national 
patriot, h&must retire. . . . 

The Reichstag met on August 30. In accordance with custom, the 
oldest member took the chair as provisional president: Clara Zetkin, 
seventy-five-year-old Communist, who had come from Moscow for 
the occasion. Her appeal for the proletarian revolution was listened 
to in silence. The permanent president was then elected. The Socialist 
Paul Lobe, presiding officer for the past twelve years, got 135 votes 
and Ernst Torgler, Communist, 80 votes. Goring, nominated by a 

1 Address in Munich, September 7, 1932. 


Centrist, got 367 votes and was thus elected. On August 31 the new 
Reichstag officers asked Hindenburg for an audience to plead for a 
continuation of the session, since they suspected that he had already 
signed a dissolution order. He refused to receive them at Neudeck. 
Obscure and futile negotiations continued. Hitler publicly attacked 
Papen, Hugenberg, and Hindenburg and privately asked Schleicher 
whether he would head a Nazi-Centrist Cabinet. The General de- 
clined. Papen asserted that he would dissolve the Reichstag unless it 
gave him a free hand for six months. Hindenburg supported him. 
Hitler and Goring rushed to the defence of democracy and parlia- 
mentary prerogatives against "dictatorship." 

The crisis came dramatically on September 12. Papen entered the 
Reichstag with his speech in one pocket and the dissolution order in 
the other. Before he could talk, Torgler introduced a motion of non- 
confidence. Goring put the motion. It was unanimously adopted and 
thus became the first item on the order of business. Prick's proposal 
for a half-hour recess was likewise adopted. Hitler, in a near-by hotel, 
instructed his followers to vote against the government. When the 
deputies reassembled, Papen sought recognition from the chair. 
Goring ignored him and proceeded to the vote. Papen then deposited 
the dissolution order on the president's desk and marched out with 
his Ministers. The vote showed 32 deputies supporting the Cabinet 
and 513 against it. Papen asserted that the vote was meaningless, since 
the Reichstag had already been dissolved. Goring declared that the 
dissolution order was invalid, since the Cabinet had already been 
voted out of office. He threatened to reconvene the Reichstag on the 
next day. Papen threatened to prevent this by force. Each accused 
the other of violating the Constitution. 

Goring yielded, however. The Reichstag, which had met in all for 
only six hours, did not reassemble. The Cabinet ignored the demand 
of its standing committee that it appear to explain its conduct. On 
the basis of a rumour that Communists had brought explosives into 
the building, the police searched it from roof to cellar in the face of 
Goring's impassioned protests. On September 15, as the Cabinet 
informed Arthur Henderson that the Reich would quit the Geneva 
Disarmament Conference unless it were granted equality, Goring 
filed suit against Papen for libel. Thus the former ace and would-be 
dictator became (temporarily) a champion of parliamentary democ- 


New elections were ordered for November 6. Hitler and the Nazi 
press now assailed Papen and the "reactionaries" in unmeasured 
terms. Goebbels went so far as to organize a boycott of Hugenberg's 
papers. Nationalist meetings were repeatedly broken up by Nazi 
rowdies, while street brawls and riots went on unchecked. The Ber- 
lin headquarters of the party were moved on October i from Hede- 
mannstrasse to an "Adolf Hitler House" on Voss-Strasse, but this 
brought the NSDAP no nearer politically to Wilhelmstrasse. The 
government monopolized the radio for campaign purposes once 
more. Nothing was clear save that the NSDAP was at last losing fol- 
lowers and that the Nationalists and Communists were gaining. 
Nazi demands for the suppression of the KPD were ignored by 
Schleicher, who had no desire to serve the Nazi cause in this fashion. 
On November 2, Communists in Hamburg attacked the Nazis and 
shot ten. On November 4-5 a transit strike broke out in Berlin. The 
Socialist trade-union officials denounced it, and the police declared 
it illegal. But the Communists and Nazis vied with one another in 
their efforts to secure control of the strikers. The Nazi press asserted : 
"We will not permit the standard of living of German workmen to 
be lowered under the von Papen regime below the standard of Chi- 
nese coolies. We not only participate in this strike, but we take its 
leadership." Hitler told thirty-five thousand people in the Sport- 
palast that the Nazis would secure forty per cent of the vote. 

The election results revealed a significant shift in opinion: 


Qualified Voters 44,401,004 

Voted 35,758,890 80.5 per cent 

Total Deputies Elected 584 

Seats Won Popular Votes 

Communist Party 100 5*980,539 

Social Democrats 121 7,251,749 

State Party 2 338,613 

Centrum 70 4,230,640 

Bavarian People's Party 20 *><>95>939 

German People's Party n 661,796 

German National People's Party 52 3*019,099 

NSDAP 196 11,737,386 

1 Gesamtcrgcbnis dcr Wahlen zum Reichstag am 6 Nov., 1932 (Berlin: Der Reichs- 
wahllcitcr; 1932). 


At last the Nazi tide was ebbing. The party had lost two million 
votes and thirty-four deputies since July 31. Instead of the forty per 
cent which Hitler predicted, the party's following fell to thirty-two 
per cent of the electorate. Trends of unemployment and industrial 
production subsequently compiled showed that the nadir of the de- 
pression had come in the summer of 1932. The slight economic re- 
covery which took place in early fall had its effect in producing a 
sharp decline in Nazi strength. Greater recovery would doubtless 
have produced a greater diminution in the number of Hitler's fol- 
lowers by alleviating the insecurities which had bred the National- 
socialist neurosis. The apparent impossibility of the Nazis securing 
a majority of the electorate and the refusal of those in high office to 
entrust the NSDAP with power likewise contributed to discourage- 
ment. More intensive campaigning to counteract these obstacles was 
rendered difficult by lack of funds. Contributions from industrialists 
were no longer so generous as they had been after the first Nazi vic- 
tories. The party treasury was described by Gocbbels as being in a 
state of "financial calamity." a 

Most of the million and a half voters who had gone to the polls 
on July 31 and stayed home on November 6 seemed to have been 
Nazis. The party leadership was already showing evidences of dis- 
integration as a result of impending bankruptcy and hopelessness as 
to the future. On November 8 the party abandoned the Berlin strike 
as a failure. All the leaders were profoundly discouraged. Victory 
now seemed impossible. There is much reason to believe that, had 
continued intrigues among the Junkers and militarist reactionaries 
not brought Hitler his opportunity three months later, the NSDAP 
would have suffered a further sharp decline and would have gone to 
pieces as a result of internal dissension. But thanks to Hindenburg, 
Schleicher, Papen, and Hugenberg, this was not to be. 

The Communists gained three-quarters of a million votes. The 
Socialists lost again three-quarters of a million votes. The Catholic 
parties suffered small losses, the German People's Party gained heav- 
ily, and the State Party remained as insignificant as before. Hugen- 
berg's Nationalists, however, gained almost a million followers and 
increased their representation from 37 to 52. This was the last election 
unaccompanied by governmental terrorization of the opposition. It 
was the last recording of public opinion in the German republic prior 
1 Vom Kaiserhof zttr Reich sfynzlci, pp. 167, 181, 192. 


to its delivery into the hands of its destroyers. Its result may be taken 
to represent accurately an equilibrium of political forces which might 
have continued for a long period had it not been upset by secret in- 
trigue and open violence. The five parties which were loyal to democ- 
racy and the Weimar Constitution (Centrum, Bavarian People's 
Party, Social Democrats, German People's Party, and State Party) 
controlled only 224 deputies out of 584. There was obviously no basis 
here for a Cabinet supported by a majority of the Reichstag. A Right 
coalition (Nazis, Nationalists, and German People's Party) could 
count upon only 259 deputies out of 584. The Nazi-Centrist coalition 
which had been proposed would have had a majority of one in the 
former Reichstag: 305 out of 608. In the new Reichstag it would not 
have a majority (226 out of 584) unless supported by the Nationalists, 
or by the Bavarian People's Party and the German People's Party. 
A Left coalition was equally impossible, since the Communists 
would on principle enter no coalitions and would vote against any 
bourgeois cabinet, democratic or Fascist. The two Marxist parties 
controlled 221 deputies and together outnumbered the Nazis, though 
in the former Reichstag they had 222 deputies to the Nazis' 230. Here, 
if anywhere, was the only centre of effective opposition to the 
NSDAP. Numerically the two political extremes were almost evenly 
balanced. The difficulty lay in the fact that in the mathematics of 
power equal numbers arc seldom equal. Collaboration between Com- 
munists and Social Democrats was unthinkable. Each accused the 
other of playing into the hands of the Fascists. Each was so hypno- 
tized by its own ideology that it preferred to die separately rather than 
to live by co-operation. Social Democracy, with its still intact and 
apparently impressive machinery of party and trade-union organiza- 
tion, was a hollow shell. It could not fight because it would crumble 
to dust at the first blow. After July 20 Communist contempt for 
Social Democratic cowardice and treachery was unqualified. But 
neither could the KPD fight. It was not prepared for revolutionary 
action, nor did the existing balance of power, for all its instability, 
oflfer an opportunity for proletarian revolt. Moscow, moreover, ve- 
toed revolution. The exigencies of the Five Year Plan and the need 
for peace forbade international conflict and without Soviet military 
intervention no Communist revolution in Germany could succeed. 
Under these circumstances the representatives of the proletariat were 
helpless helpless to preserve the Weimar democracy from its ene- 


mies by co-operating with its friends, helpless to rule themselves, and 
helpless even to avert their own destruction. 

What next? Papen resumed futile negotiations for parliamentary 
support. He was everywhere rebuffed. Schleicher now demanded 
Papen's dismissal, but had troubles with the Old Gentleman, who 
continued to base his decisions on the interests of the Junkers. Gregor 
Strasser intimated that he and his supporters were disgusted with 
Hitler's megalomania and might support a Schleicher Cabinet. On 
November 17 the Cabinet resigned. Hitler, playing for Hindenburg's 
favour, urged measures to restore agrarian prosperity in preparation 
for the "war of liberation." He conferred with the President for an 
hour on November 19. He refused once more to enter any cabinet of 
which he was not the head, but asserted that with Centrist and Na- 
tionalist support the Nazis could build a parliamentary majority. 
Hindenburg was favourably impressed and authorized him to nego- 
tiate. For the second time Der Fiihrer was offered a place in the 
Cabinet. This time he could have the chancellorship if he would 
secure a majority and pledge himself to rule "constitutionally." Gor- 
ing saw Kaas. Hitler saw Schacht. The latter sought to help in re- 
building the "Harzburg Front," but Hugenberg was not prepared 
for this not yet. He and Papen pulled wires to frustrate Hitler's 
efforts. The Leader's negotiations failed. He then offered to head a 
"presidential cabinet" ruling by decree without parliamentary sup- 
port. This offer Hindenburg refused on November 24: 

"I fear that a presidential cabinet led by Herr Hitler would inevi- 
tably develop into a party dictatorship with the evil result of intensi- 
fying still more the dissensions within the German nation, and I 
cannot answer to my oath and my conscience for taking such a step." l 

Hindenburg next asked the Centrist leader, Kaas, to try his hand, 
but with Hitler irreconcilable and Hugenberg in no mood to co- 
operate, nothing could be achieved. On November 26 Hindenburg 
asked Schleicher to make a new effort. Papen, Hugenberg, and the 
Junkers sought to frustrate Schleicher's attempt. The General con- 
ferred with the Social Democrats and with trade-union leaders. Hit- 
ler refused to see Schleicher and announced his opposition to any 
cabinet not headed by himself. Hindenburg toyed with the notion 
of retaining his friend Papen as Chancellor (he would be "safe" for 
the Junkers), but Papen's colleagues declined to co-operate. 
1 Berlin Diaries, p. 215; cf. Goebbels, op. cit., pp. 205-10. 


The President disgustedly intimated that he felt like retiring from 
politics altogether, and would do so except for his anxiety over the 
state of (Junker) agriculture. On December 2 he asked Schleicher 
to accept the chancellorship, with or without a parliamentary ma- 
jority. Schleicher consented. The personnel of the Herren Klub Cab- 
inet was altered only slightly. Franz Bracht replaced Gayl as Minister 
of the Interior. Dr. Friedrich Syrup replaced Schaffer as Minister of 
Labour, after Hindenburg rejected the suggestion that Seldte, the 
Stahlhelm leader, should assume the post. Schleicher remained 
Reichswehr Minister. Dr. Gunther Gerecke was elevated to the new 
post of Employment early in January. 

Schleicher sought to secure parliamentary acquiescence, if not 
support. The Reichstag was to meet on December 6. On the 4th 
Schleicher saw Goring, who agreed that the Reichstag should be 
adjourned at once until January. Schleicher sought to close the breach 
between the Left and the Right in an ingenious fashion. He aimed 
ultimately at a government of generals and trade unionists. The 
Stahlhelm of Seldte, the Catholic unions of Stegerwald and Brim- 
ing, the Social Democratic unions of Leipart, and the socialistic left 
wing of the Nazis led by Strasser would be united in a proletarian- 
militarist regime. By agreement with the Centrum, Strasser would 
become Prussian Premier. If he would enter the Cabinet, the Federal 
Commissioner for Prussia would be recalled. ... A 

The trade-union leaders were agreeable. If Hitler created difficul- 
ties, Schleicher would threaten him with a dissolution of the Reichs- 
tag. Der Fiihrej's depleted war chest, his campaign debts, and his 
electoral losses would make him hesitate. In local elections in Thu- 
ringia on December 4 the Nazi vote fell twenty per cent below the 
November 6 level. If Hugenberg made trouble, Schleicher would 
threaten the Junkers with an exposure of the Ost-Hilfe scandal, 
wherein millions of marks appropriated for agrarian relief found 
their way into the pockets of the Prussian gentry. The Reichstag, 
thought Schleicher, would acquiesce. The scheme was admirable 
and not without elements of genuine statesmanship. Schleicher 
planned on four years in office. Only such a regime could save the 
republic by enabling it to survive long enough for the Nazi losses to 
produce disintegration and reduce the movement to impotence. The 
only hitch was that Schleicher failed to reckon with his "friend" 
Papen and with Hindenburg. 


On December 6 the deputies assembled in an atmosphere of calm. 
By right of seniority, the eighty-year-old Nazi, General Karl Litz- 
mann, became provisional president and forestalled another Clara 
Zetkin "scandal." Goring was re-elected as permanent president. 
Hitler had "declared war" on the government and required the Nazi 
deputies to take a new oath of allegiance to him. Papen was intrigu- 
ing as usual, Hugenberg was sulking, and Neurath was seeking to 
convince Hindenburg that the General-Chancellor would make a 
bad international impression. But Schleicher was optimistic. On De- 
cember 7 a Nazi-Communist riot in the Reichstag compelled a one- 
hour suspension. Strasser offered Schleicher the support of half the 
Nazi deputies if he would agree not to dissolve the Reichstag and 
grant some vague quid pro quo to Strasser's followers. This savoured 
of treason to Der Fuhrer. Still . . . ? Hitler, in the face of internal 
defection, agreed to an adjournment of the Reichstag to January 10. 
On December 9 the Reichstag adjourned, after passing a constitu- 
tional amendment to have the President of the Supreme Court, in- 
stead of the Chancellor, succeed to the presidency of the Reich in the 
event of Hindenburg's death. 

Schleicher at least had a breathing-space. Better yet, Grcgor Stras- 
ser now broke with Hitler completely. He resigned his party posts 
on December 8 and was replaced by Robert Ley, the frequently 
inebriated and disorderly deputy who was closely connected with 
chemical-manufacturers in the Rhineland. Hitler created a Central 
Political Commission of the party under Hess. Feder likewise asked 
for a three weeks' leave. The radicals had waited long enough for 
jobs. Schleicher considered inviting Strasser into the Cabinet. Deep 
depression reigned among the Nazi leaders. Hitler, in the Kaiserhof, 
walked up and down, up and down, tore his hair, and threatened 
to commit suicide if the party went to pieces. 1 On December n 
Schleicher won another victory: a Five Power declaration recognized 
"in principle" the right of Germany to equality in armaments. On 
the i5th the Chancellor broadcast his program. Five days later he 
proclaimed a general amnesty for political prisoners, with the ex- 
ception of the Potempa murderers. He felt confident that his position 
was now secure. The Nazi ship was waterlogged and sinking under 
its burden of debts, while mutiny raged among the crew. 
1 Goebbcls, op. cit., pp. 218-20. 



JANUARY 1933: Difficulties for Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher. 
Papen's wounded vanity led him to launch new secret conspiracies 
against the old friend who had made him Chancellor seven months 
before. He found an ally in Oldcnburg-Januschau and the Junker 
Landbund, whose members suspected Schleicher, too, of "agrarian 
Bolshevism." Oskar and even the Old Gentleman listened to their 
complaints. Schleicher hesitated to launch a counter-offensive against 
this cabal lest he alienate the President. Oldenburg was collecting 
money again by subscription 450,000 marks, he hoped to present 
to Hindenburg as a gift wherewith to renovate the bankrupt Neudeck 
estate. The Deutsche Bank was approached for 180,000 marks, but 
refused to contribute. On January 3 Schleicher urged Hindenburg 
to appoint Strasser Vice-Chancellor and Federal Commissioner for 
Prussia. The Landtag would then be dissolved and Hitler would be 
undone. Hindenburg refused. He criticized Schleicher's "land settle- 
ment" plans and opposed any action against the Nazis. 

Thus encouraged, Count Eberhard von Kalkreuth, president of 
the Landbund, pressed his demands for new protective tariff duties 
on foodstuffs. These demands were resisted by Schleicher and by the 
Federation of German Industries. As a means of bringing pressure 
to bear on the Cabinet, the Landbund issued a denunciatory statement 
to the press on January n: 

"A deplorable situation in German agriculture, affecting particu- 
larly peasants and specialized farming, has under the present gov- 
ernment assumed proportions not even conceivable under a purely 
Marxist government. The pillaging of agriculture for the all-powerful 
moneybag interests of the internationally minded export industry 
and its hirelings is continuing. Radio broadcasts and empty phrases 
are all agriculture is getting from the government." * 

On the I2th Hindenburg received the Landbund leaders in 
Schleicher's presence and promised to do all in his power "to rouse 
agriculture to new life." Schleicher and Kalkreuth were cordial at 
the banquet which followed, until someone handed the Chancellor 
a newspaper containing the Landbund's blast against him. Schleicher 

1 The New Yor/^ Times, January 12, 1933. 


asked his neighbour for an explanation. Kalkreuth smiled. Schleicher 
left the room in high dudgeon and declared that the government 
would no longer receive the Landbund's representatives. The Junkers 
now attacked him furiously, and Hindenburg became more and 
more unsympathetic toward his Chancellor, A parliamentary com- 
mission was investigating the Ost-Hilfe scandal and playing with 
recommendations that owners of large estates should henceforth be 
barred from relief funds unless they were prepared to subdivide their 
holdings. If the commission reported, many titled names would be 
besmirched, including the Hindenburgs. What did Schleicher pro- 
pose to do? 

While Schleicher hesitated, Hitler found salvation. His situation 
seemed desperate enough: huge debts unpaid, no money available, 
Strasser in revolt, disaffection in the ranks. The Franconian division 
of the S.A., twelve thousand strong, had to be dissolved for in- 
subordination. Other rifts were widening. The old year had closed in 
deep gloom for the party headquarters. 1 Then Papen to the rescue! 
On January 4 Hitler and Papen, on the latter's invitation, held a 
"love-feast" in Cologne at the home of the banker Baron von Schroe- 
der, friend of Thyssen. The meeting was arranged in such secrecy 
that even Hitler's immediate companions did not know where he 
had been or with whom. But Schleicher's intelligence service was 
efficient. The fact of the meeting was announced in the press on the 
next day. Its import was a subject for conjecture. Rumours leaked 
out, however, and were confirmed by subsequent events. 

Hitler needed money. Papen needed political strings for the web 
he was attempting to spin around Schleicher. He persuaded various 
Rhineland industrialists, including Thyssen and Springorum, to 
donate some four million marks to the Nazi treasury. They were 
more generous now that Hitler had broken with his socialistic col- 
leagues, Strasser and Feder. The industrialists in general were sup- 
porting Schleicher in his stand against the Landbund, but Papen 
hinted that the Chancellor's days were numbered. Those who do- 
nated would fare well after Schleicher went. No intrigue, no treach- 
ery was too high a price to pay to assuage Papen's amour propre. The 
bargain was struck. Thyssen and Oskar gave their blessing. 
When Schleicher, a few days later, reproached Papen for his al- 

1 Goebbcls, op. cit., pp. 221-32. 


leged pact with Hitler, his former colleague replied: "Kurt, in the 
name of our old friendship and on my word of honour as an officer 
and as a man, I swear to you that I will never undertake nor sanction 
any move whatever against you or against a government of which 
you are the head." Schleicher believed. Later he said of Papen: "He 
proved to be the kind of traitor beside whom Judas Iscariot is a 
saint." 1 

The next step in the anti-Schleicher conspiracy was the restoration 
of the "Harzburg Front." Hitler's political stock was rising again. 
Strasser was no longer being seriously considered as a Cabinet mem- 
ber. Already Goring and Goebbels had warned Hitler of Strasser's 
secret treachery, and with this news had intercepted Der Fiihrer at 
Weimar on his way to Berlin for a conference with the Chancellor. 
The conference was never held. Hitler saw the light. If Rohm con- 
templated joining Strasser, he was deterred by the news from Co- 

On Sunday, January 15, a Diet election took place in Lippe. 
Schleicher addressed the KyfThauser Bund and commemorated the 
establishment of the empire by urging rearmament and universal 
military service. Politically he seemed immobilized between his de- 
sires to placate Hindenburg and the Junkers and to effect a combina- 
tion with the Socialists and trade unionists. In Lippe the Nazis waged 
a campaign of unprecedented intensity. Hitler concentrated all his 
heavy oratorical artillery in this little district. He himself spoke at 
eighteen meetings in halls, in town squares, and even in circus tents 
pitched in the fields. Every hamlet and farmhouse was visited by 
prominent party organizers. An impression must at all costs be made. 
In the result the NSDAP captured over forty per cent of the voters 
and made good its losses of November 6. With sufficient funds it 
could still recruit converts. 

What was more important, Hugenberg conferred with Hitler 
during the campaign. He was alarmed at Schleicher's "socialism." 
Through Gerecke, the Chancellor was dickering with trade-union 
leaders. Against the advice of Ernst Oberfohren, parliamentary 
leader of the Nationalists, Hugenberg struck a secret bargain: 

1 From an interview of an English correspondent with Schleicher in March 1933: 
"Schleicher's Political Dream," The New Statesman and Nation, London, July 7, 1934, 
pp. 6-7. 


Schleicher would be ousted. Hitler would be Chancellor. Papen 
would be Vice-Chancellor, and Hugenberg would be Minister of 
Economics. A majority of the new Cabinet would be non-Nazi (to 
restrain Hitler), but the Reichstag would be dissolved and a new 
election called. On this point Hugenberg was skeptical, but finally 
yielded. After mid-January Goring was in constant touch with 
Hugenberg, Papen, Melssner, and Seldte. How to unseat Schleicher ? 
Simple by playing upon the fears of "agrarian Bolshevism" enter- 
tained by the Old Gentleman of Neudeck. Papen and Hugenberg 
smiled. How clever they were! * Hitler smiled. Again he had de- 
ceived these clever gentlemen with what they took to be promises. 
He would deceive them again, and yet again and then destroy 

Schleicher waited. His negotiations with the trade unions and the 
Reichsbanner were inconclusive. Hindenburg received Hugenberg 
on the i5th and was more affable than usual. An East Prussian club 
of Nazi landowners now copied the technique of Oldenburg-Ja- 
nuschau to win over General Werner von Blomberg, divisional 
commander of the Reichswehr. They purchased an estate near 
Konigsberg and presented it to the General, with the title to be held 
by one of his relatives. The Chancellor was furious, but could do 
nothing. 2 On January 18 Schleicher was obliged to consent to an 
emergency decree forbidding the forced sale of bankrupt estates east 
of the Elbe until October 31. Another victory of the Landbund and 
Hindenburg! Hugenberg's Nationalist press and Hitler's Nazi press 
now attacked Schleicher mercilessly. His retreat toward the Right 
was now cut off by the new Harzburg compact. Papen delicately 
suggested his retirement. On the 20th Hindenburg angrily protested 
to Schleicher over the parliamentary committee investigating the 
Ost-Hilfe. He must suppress the commission. The Chancellor said 
he could not legally do so. On January 21 the steering committee of 
the Reichstag accepted Prick's motion to defer the session from 
January 24 to January 31. Hitler needed delay. 

Der Fiihrer spoke the same evening in the Sportpalast and prom- 
ised a speedy end of "the System of defeatism enforced since 1918." 

1 "The line between cleverness and silliness is sometimes vague" Calvin B. Hoover: 
Germany Enters the Third Reich (New York: Macmillan; 1933), p. 87. 

2 Berlin Diaries, pp. 277-9. 


Over Schlcichcr's protest, the storm troopers were permitted to 
provoke the Communists by marching past the Karl Liebknecht 
House in Biilowplatz on Sunday the 22nd. Large police forces with 
machine-guns and armoured cars preserved order by arresting eighty 
Communists and forbidding the local residents even to open their 
windows. In the square Hitler and Rohm reviewed the S.A. after 
unveiling a memorial tablet at the grave of Horst Wessel. In another 
huge meeting in the Sportpalast Hitler invoked divine aid: "We 
pray Almighty God to give us the same strength of spirit and self- 
sacrifice that characterizes our martyrs." On Monday the 23rd Hin- 
denburg told Schleichcr that he still possessed his confidence, but 
ought to rely more on Hugenberg and the Stahlhelm. Tentatively 
he assented to Schleicher's plan to dissolve the Reichstag and decree 
a state of emergency. Hugenberg, however, demanded the Chancel- 
lor's resignation. He had plans of his own. Perhaps he could outwit 
Papen and become the head of the next Cabinet himself. Papen 
waited. Perhaps he could outwit Hugenberg. Perhaps they could 
both outwit Hitler. Perhaps . . . ? 

Press headlines: Nazi students riot at University of Breslau as 
Professor Ernst Cohn resumes his law courses. Police drive them out. 
January 25, Dresden police break up Communist meeting when 
speaker attacks NSDAP. Nine Communists killed, eleven wounded, 
all shot in back. Schleicher demands investigation. Schleicher de- 
mands political show-down. Hugenberg's efforts at Right Cabinet 
headed by Papen fail. Hitler bans Nazi participation in any cabinet 
not headed by himself. Schleicher will see Hindenburg. Schleicher 
reported unwilling to go before Reichstag without dissolution order. 
Papen reported ready to act. Centrists and Bavarian People's Party 
announce that they prefer a "parliamentary" cabinet headed by 
Hitler. Nazi students riot at Breslau. 

On January 28 came the debacle. Early in the morning Hinden- 
burg summoned his Chancellor and asked him whether he knew 
that the Reichstag committee had asked him to make a public state- 
ment before parliament on the Ost-Hilfe scandal. Schleicher replied 
in the affirmative. Would he make this statement? Schleicher saw 
no way of refusing unless the Reichstag were dissolved. 

Hindenburg rose. He is reported to have said: 

"If you aren't strong enough to put a stop once and for all to these 


argumentations about the plain duty of the State toward agriculture, 
then I shall not empower you to dissolve the Reichstag, but ask you 
to resign instead. This pretence of governing has long ceased to have 
any point!" * 

Schleicher blanched and announced that the whole Cabinet would 
resign. As he left by one door, Papen came in by another. Half an 
hour later Papen was entrusted with the task of forming a new gov- 
ernment. Papen and Hitler conferred, each doubtless accusing the 
other of "double-crossing." Neurath objected. Bankers and business 
men voiced apprehension. Trade-union leaders warned the Presi- 
dent against any new anti-labour cabinet. The V.B. declared war on 
Papen and asserted that Hitler must be Chancellor. 

Papen's negotiations were possibly mere sham for the sake of 
appearances. The Papen-Hitler-Thyssen-Hugenberg-Landbund al- 
liance had converted the Junker President. By the terms of the bar- 
gain (which Papen was perhaps attempting to evade), Hitler 
would be Chancellor of a cabinet including his new friends and 
the remnants of the Herren Klub. 

What would Schleicher do? He had been Chancellor for fifty- 
seven days. Apparently he was cognizant of the conspiracy against 
him and appreciated his responsibility as the last defence against the 
Nazi revolution. He conferred in the afternoon with trade-union 
leaders and tentatively proposed a putsch, to be supported by the 
Reichswehr and by a general strike, as a means of keeping Hitler 
and Papen from power. The Catholic trade unions were agreeable. 
Theodor Leipart, leader of the Social Democratic unions, had 
scruples: the putsch would be "unconstitutional," all angles must be 
carefully considered, time was needed for deliberation. . . . Schlei- 
cher also conferred with certain Reichswehr commanders at Pots- 
dam. They were willing to act. It seemed certain that the Socialist 
and Communist rank and file of the trade unions would overwhelm- 
ingly support Schleicher. But the leaders were "yellow." A putsch 
might mean civil war. The Reichswehr could then at last crush the 
NSDAP. There would be a Left military dictatorship supported by 
the proletariat. Still . . . ? Hindenburg would have to be ousted. 
Hitler, Papen, and Hugenberg would have to be arrested. Would the 
Reichswehr move against the President? Schleicher was unwell. He 

1 Berlin Diaries, p. 288. 


hesitated irresolutely until it was too late. 

On Sunday the 2gth, a hundred thousand workers met in the 
Lustgarten in a great anti-Fascist demonstration to oppose Hitler 
as Chancellor. But the liberal Frankjurter Zeitung opined that a 
Hitler cabinet might prove to be the only way of curbing the Nazis. 
Secret "negotiations" continued. For the last time a Centrist-Nazi 
coalition was discussed. Kaas asked guarantees that Hitler would 
abide by the Constitution and resign if defeated in the Reichstag. 
None was forthcoming. If any rumours of Schleicher's plans reached 
the conspirators, they served to hasten an agreement. But everything 
was kept secret to the end. Hitler did not see the President, but left 
all the bargaining to Papen. 

At n.oo a.m., Monday, January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was named 
Reichskanzler by Paul von Hindenburg. Two of his party colleagues 
entered the new Cabinet: Hermann Goring became Minister without 
portfolio, Federal Commissioner for Air Transport, and Prussian 
Minister of the Interior (on March n Goring became Premier of 
Prussia and on the 28th he became Reich Minister of Air) ; Wilhelm 
Frick became Reich Minister of the Interior. To the Nazi leaders 
who were unaware of the intrigue which had culminated in this 
wholly unexpected victory, the whole course of events was fantastic 
and incomprehensible "like a dream," said Goebbels. 1 The other 
conspirators were rewarded. Franz von Papen became Vice-Chan- 
cellor. Alfred Hugenberg became Minister of Economics and of 
Food. His Stahlhelm ally Franz Seldte was named Minister of La- 
bour. General Werner von Blomberg would be Minister of Defence. 
He was persuaded to join by Ludwig Mueller, divisional chaplain 
of the east Prussian Reichswehr. For the rest, the feudal gentry re- 
mained: Lutz von Schwerin-Krosigk, Minister of Finance; Dr. 
Franz Gurtner, Minister of Justice; Baron von Eltz-Riibenach, 
Minister of Posts and Transport; Dr. Giinther Gerecke, Minister of 
Employment; Baron von Neurath, Minister of Foreign Affairs. It 
was all arranged within fifteen minutes. "And now, gentlemen," 
declared Hindenburg, "forward with God!" 2 

Three Nazis confronted nine non-Nazis. The NSDAP, to be sure, 
had the chancellorship and control of the police. But Hitler would 

1 Vom Kaiser hof zur Reichs^anzlei, pp. 251-4. 

2 Hermann Goring: Germany Reborn, p. 114. 


presumably be "tamed" by his colleagues. This fatuous supposition 
was scarcely encouraged by the Nazi proclamation which Hitler 
caused to be issued : 

"After a thirteen-year struggle, the Nationalsocialist movement 
has succeeded in breaking through to the government; the struggle 
to win the German nation, however, is only beginning. The National- 
socialist Party knows that the new government is no Nationalsocialist 
government, but it is conscious that it bears the name of its leader, 
Adolf Hitler. He has advanced with his shock troops and has placed 
himself at the head of the government to lead the German people to 
liberty. Not only is the entire authority of the State to be wielded, 
but in the background, prepared for action, is the Nationalsocialist 
movement of millions of followers united unto death with its leader. 
... In this historic hour we wish to thank President von Hindcn- 
burg, whose immortal fame as Field Marshal on the battlefields of 
the World War binds his name perpetually to that of young Ger- 
many, which is striving with burning heart to gain its liberty." 1 

Schleicher surrendered. A Communist call for a general strike was 
without result. The Socialist leaders said that Hitler had come into 
power "legally." They must wait for evidences of "illegality." It was 
intimated that the new government would go before the Reichstag 
on February 7. On Monday evening the Berlin and Brandenburg 
S.A., in collaboration with the Stahlhclm, staged a monster torch- 
light parade through the Brandenburg Gate and down Untcr den 
Linden. No fewer than seven hundred thousand people marched 
through Wilhelmstrassc past the chancellery building. Hindcnburg 
greeted the demonstrators from one window, Hitler and Goring 
from another. There were no disorders, save that a policeman and 
an S.A. man, Hans Maikowski, were shot to death, presumably by 
"Communists," as they returned later to their homes. During the 
ceremonies Goring addressed the radio audience: 

"The 3oth of January 1933 will be designated in German history 
as the day on which the Reich again found itself, created a new 
nation, and destroyed all the torment, insult and disgrace of the last 
fourteen years. Today will be the day on which we close in the book 
of German history the last year of want and shame and begin a new 
chapter, and in this chapter Freedom and Honour will stand as the 
foundation of the coming State. We thank today not only the Leader 

1 The New York Times, January 31, 1933. 


of this great movement, but also the grey General Field Marshal von 
Hindenburg, who today has concluded an alliance with the young 
generation. . . . Bread and work for our countrymen, freedom and 
honour for the nation." * 

On Tuesday the General Federation of Labour and the Christian 
Labour Federation issued a joint manifesto against the new regime. 
But since they proposed no action, their statement was pointless. 
Hitler conferred with the Centrist leaders, but would make no prom- 
ises. The negotiations for Centrist toleration of the new Cabinet thus 
failed, and on Wednesday, February i, Hindenburg dissolved the 
Reichstag and ordered new elections for March 5. Hugenberg ap- 
parently opposed an election. In vain. He asked for a joint govern- 
ment list of candidates. In vain. The NSDAP would stand alone. He 
formed a Black-White-Rcd Kampfbund with the Stahlhelm to sup- 
port the Nationalist candidates. This too would ultimately be in 
vain. The government addressed the nation: 

"More than fourteen years have passed since the unhallowed day 
when, dazzled by promises at home and abroad, the German people 
forgot the most precious heritage of our past its honour and free- 
dom and thus lost all. Since that day of betrayal, the Lord has with- 
held His blessings from our people. Discord and hatred have entered 
among us. . . . One year of Bolshevism would destroy Germany. 
The section of the earth representing the richest and most beautiful 
culture in the world would be changed into chaos. Even the suffer- 
ings of the last fifteen years could not be compared to the sufferings 
of a Europe in whose heart the red flag of destruction was hoisted. . . . 

"The national government sees as its first and highest task the 
restoration of the unity of mind and will of our people. It will shield 
and protect the foundations on which the strength of our nation 
rests. It will take under its firm guardianship Christianity as the 
basis of our entire morality, the family as the germ-cell of our people 
and our body politic. Despite vocations and classes, it will bring our 
people back to a consciousness of its racial and political unity and of 
the duties which flow therefrom. It will make respect for our great 
past, pride in our old traditions, the bases of the education of German 
youth. It will declare merciless war upon spiritual, political, and 
cultural nihilism. Germany must not and shall not sink into anarch- 
ism and Communism." 

1 W. Gchl: Die national sozialistischc Revolution (Breslau: Hirt; 1933), pp. 69-70. 


Hitler went on to describe his two "Four Year Plans" for the 
rescue of the peasantry and the unemployed. Within four years the 
work of ruination of the November parties would be undone. 
Through labour service and land settlement (Arbeitsdienstspflicht 
und Siedliingspoliti/0 agriculture would again be made prosperous 
and unemployment would be liquidated. In foreign policy, freedom 
and equality for the Reich would be attained. A free and equal Reich 
would work for peace and the welfare of Europe. To realize this 
program and to do its duty toward other nations, Germany must 
first conquer the Communist menace: 

"The parties of Marxism and their followers have had fourteen 
years to demonstrate their abilities. The result is a heap of ruins. Now, 
German people, give us four years and then judge us! True to the 
command of the General Field Marshal, we wish to begin. May the 
Almighty God take our work in His grace, approve our purpose, 
bless our program, and favour us with the confidence of our people. 
For we wish to fight not for ourselves, but for Germany!" x 

The line of campaign was clear. The new government would 
promise work, bread, and prosperity. It would identify itself with 
national unity, claim a monopoly of patriotism, and evoke support 
by appealing to popular ethnocentrism. At the same time it would 
hold up the bogy of Bolshevism before the electorate and make itself 
the beneficiary of the resulting insecurities by posing as the saviour 
of the Fatherland from Communist revolution. Other devices in the 
Nazi propaganda arsenal could be used later. At present they might 
antagonize the non-Nazis in the Cabinet and these gentlemen were 
still useful. 

On Thursday, February 2, the Cabinet forbade all Communist 
meetings throughout Germany and ordered police raids on the 
homes of Communist leaders. A projected meeting of the Social 
Democrats and the Anti-Fascist League, scheduled for Sunday in 
the Lustgarten, was banned by the police on the ground that it would 
interfere with the funeral of Hans Maikowski, Already Hitler was 
insisting on the suppression of the Communist Party. In this he was 
opposed by Papen and Hugenberg, who feared a Nazi majority in 
the new Reichstag. The Nazi minority in the Cabinet must be sup- 
ported by a Nazi minority in parliament, in order that Hitler should 

1 Ibid., pp. 71-6. This manifesto was signed by all of the Cabinet members except 


remain dependent upon the allies who had elevated him to the chan- 
cellorship. Papen and Hugenberg did not yet perceive the implica- 
tions of what they had done. They continued to cherish illusions. 
During the weeks which followed, the issue between the Nazis and 
non-Nazis in the Cabinet tended to centre about the question of 
what should be done with the KPD. The Communist leaders them- 
selves seemed to be paralysed. They perceived no means of offering 
effective resistance to Fascism. Their role was that of scapegoats and 
unwilling propaganda symbols wherewith the NSDAP could ter- 
rify the electorate and send it panic-stricken into the Nazi camp. 

In preparation for the election Hindenburg decreed that every 
party must have 60,000 signatures on its petition in place of the usual 
500. The "splinter parties" were thus destroyed. On February 3 Vor- 
wdrts was banned for three days for publishing a Socialist election 
appeal. On the 4th eight more Socialist papers and two Communist 
papers were suppressed. On Sunday, February 5, Hans Maikowski 
and the policeman who was slain with him were given a State 
funeral an honour hitherto granted only to President Ebert and 
Chancellor Stresemann. Hitler, Goring, and the Crown Prince at- 
tended the ceremonies, in which twenty thousand storm troopers 
and a hundred and fifty thousand spectators took part. The affair 
was a complete success, except that the policeman's family and the 
Catholic Church objected to the Protestant ceremony. On February 
6 another presidential decree forbade any press criticism of the Chan- 
cellor, despite the protests of the German Press Federation. Papen, 
acting as Premier of Prussia, dissolved the Landtag, which, on 
February 4, had rejected a Nazi dissolution motion by a vote of 214 
to 196. New Prussian elections were ordered for March 5. Braun and 
Severing decided to ask the Supreme Court for another injunction. 

Communists were now being shot with impunity throughout the 
Reich. While Goring called upon the civil service to co-operate in 
the national awakening, the Nazis in the Reichstag Committee on 
Parliamentary Rights denounced its chairman, Paul Lobe, as "Jew- 
boy" and "swine" and made its further sessions impossible. Hitler 
asserted that "objective criticism" would be tolerated, but that "ten 
years from now there will be no more Marxism in Germany." In the 
Bavarian Diet the Nazis, with Socialist support, passed a resolution 
asking the government to nationalize the banks. It was ignored. On 
February 9 Goring rebuked the Swedish press for criticizing Hitler. 


On the following evening Hitler spoke in the Sportpalast: 

"Our program? . . . We will not lie and we will not swindle! 
The resurrection of the German nation is the question of the res- 
toration of the inner strength and health of the German people. 
. . . We wish to work, but the people themselves must co-operate. 
... In us alone lies the future of the German people. . . . The laws 
of life are always the same, and we wish to undertake the rebuilding 
of the people not according to empty theories, conceived by some 
foreign brain, but according to the eternal laws which experience 
and history show us and which we know. . . . 

"Worth of personality . . . rotten democracy . . . cleanliness in 
government, cleanliness in public life, cleanliness in culture . . . 
honour . . . freedom ... art ... music . . . tradition . . , respect 
for the past . . . our two million dead . . . the army. ... If the 
German people should desert us, that will not restrain us. We will 
take the course that is necessary to save Germany from ruin. There- 
with will this program be a program of national revival in all spheres 
of life, hard against everyone who sins against the nation, brother 
and friend of everyone who will fight with us for the resurrection of 
his people." * 

On the next day a Nationalist-Stahlhelm rally was held in the 
Sportpalast. Hugenberg condemned Bolshevism and democracy and 
asserted that there would be no elections after March 5. Papen praised 
Hindenburg and declared that the national movement was not a 
coalition of parties, but a spiritual resurrection. Seldte asserted that 
the Stahlhelm had always fought for freedom. On the same day the 
Communist Rote Fahne was banned for two weeks. On Monday the 
I3th Goring ousted twenty-four Prussian provincial governors and 
police chiefs and replaced them by Nazis. On the i5th it was an- 
nounced that all political meetings would be watched by armed 
"auxiliary police" that is, Nazis and Stahlhelm men and that all 
meetings at which the government was criticized would be at once 
dissolved. All Communist meetings were forbidden. Of the n Prus- 
sian provincial governors, 7 were already ousted; of the 33 district 
presidents, 15 were removed; and of the 35 police chiefs, 24 were 
replaced by Nazis. In Hanover the S.A. leader, Viktor Lutze, became 
police chief. The Vorwarts was again banned and the new Nazi 
Minister of Education in Prussia, Bernard Rust, took steps to expel 

1 Gehl, op. cit., pp. 76-80. 


Professor Cohn from the University of Breslau. 

On February 17 Leipart asserted that "the use of force against the 
working class can only portend a life-and-death struggle, the terrific 
possibilities of which ought to give the present rulers pause." But 
there was no struggle, only submission. On the next day more papers 
were suppressed, including Germania, the chief Centrist organ, 
which dared to print its party's election manifesto. On the 20th 
Goring ordered the police to shoot "Communist terrorists" on sight. 
They would be punished for "false consideration." "Failing to act 
is a graver fault than errors made in action." The police, moreover, 
must fraternize with the storm troopers and the Stahlhelm and must 
suppress all opponents of the government "with the greatest vig- 

our." 1 

On the 20th also, Hitler met all the leading industrialists, including 
Krupp, Siemens, Flick, Bosch, Schacht, and others, in Goring's offi- 
cial residence. No statement was issued, but Big Business was ap- 
parently reassured as to its place in the Third Reich. On the 2ist 
many Centrist meetings were broken up by Nazis. Stegerwald was 
assaulted at Krefeld. Briining was obliged to seek police protection at 
a meeting in the Palatinate, where eleven Catholic ushers were 
wounded in an attack by S.A. men. Goring declared that the culprits 
were disguised Communists and demanded discipline in the S.A. 
On the 24th Goring cited the "growing excesses of the Left radicals" 
and formally authorized the arming of auxiliary police. The Rote 
Fahne was suspended for another six weeks (it was never permitted 
to reappear) and numerous Socialist meetings were suppressed. 

These developments created grave misgivings among the allies of 
the NSDAP in the Cabinet. Who sups with the devil must use a 
long spoon. Papen, Hugenbcrg, and Seldte were beginning to won- 
der. Obcrfohren had warned Hugenberg, but it was now too late. 
The Nationalist lion was to have swallowed the Nazi lamb. But what 
if they had been mistaken about the species? Suppressing the Marx- 
ists was all very well but not as a means of giving the Nazis com- 
plete control of the State, prick and Goring controlled the police. 
They were arming the storm troopers for the terrorization of their 
enemies. The Rcichswehr was passive and Blomberg had been 
bought by the Nazis. The Old Gentleman dozed at Neudeck. He had 
played his part too well. The NSDAP was now waving the red flag of 

1 The New York Times, February 21, 1933. 


Bolshevism before the masses and might frighten them into returning 
a Nazi majority on March 5. Between the 32 per cent of November 
6 and 51 per cent there was still a wide gap, but this only made 
Hitler, Goring, and Goebbels all the more desperate and determined 
to win complete power. If they could outlaw the KPD in addition 
to bludgeoning all other opposition into silence, they might well 
make a clean sweep on March 5 and then dispense with their un- 
wanted collaborators. 

For these reasons the non-Nazi majority in the Cabinet apparently 
determined to prevent the complete suppression of the Communists. 
Goebbels was demanding that the police discover incriminating evi- 
dence of treason against the KPD in order that it might be banned 
in the name of the safety of the State. The Berlin police chief, 
Melcher, failed to discover any. Nazi pressure for his dismissal and 
replacement by Count Helldorf was resisted by Papen. Finally a 
compromise was effected. Melcher was displaced by Admiral von 
Levetzow. On February 24 the police broke into the Karl Liebknecht 
House, closed several weeks before by the authorities, and carted 
away large quantities of documents. On February 26 the government 
press service announced sensational disclosures of "catacombs," "un- 
derground vaults," "treasonable materials," and a secret illegal Com- 
munist organization in the basement. Papen, Hugenberg, and Seldte 
were doubtless indignant at the use of such cheap forgeries, but were 
helpless to intervene. For them to defend the KPD against the Nazis 
was unthinkable. They waited, hoping against hope for a way out of 
the cul-de-sac into which they had so blithely entered. 1 

From the point of view of the NSDAP, however, the election pros- 
pects were none too bright. The leaders considered a general mobi- 
lization of the S.A. around Berlin on March 5, but such a move would 
arouse grave suspicion and perhaps antagonize the Reichswehr. 
Even now, with the Nazis partially in control of the machinery of 
the State, any danger of an open conflict must be avoided. Papen and 
Hugenberg had trusted Hitler, but he had learned to trust nobody. 
What to do? If only the KPD would attempt armed resistance! But 
it did nothing. Some dramatic event, some sudden alarm was needed 

1 Cf. the Oberfohren Memorandum, The New Republic, August 23, 1933. This much 
debated document presents a version of the Reichstag fire which cannot be" substan- 
tiated by the known facts. But there is no reason to suppose that its presentation of 
the latent conflict within the Hitler Cabinet is false. 


to frighten the hesitant voters into acquiescence. How could it be 


ABOUT 8.40, Monday evening, February 27, 1933, a student of philos- 
ophy, Hans Floter, left the University of Berlin and walked west- 
ward along Unter den Linden toward his lodgings. His route took 
him through the Brandenburg Gate and across the square beyond. 
Here Unter den Linden merges into Charlottenburger Chaussee, 
which runs through the Tiergarten. At right angles runs Friedrich 
Ebert Strasse, soon to be renamed Hermann Goring Strasse. It was 
dark and cold, with a thin crust of snow on the ground. Floter turned 
right and skirted the black hulk of the Reichstag building. He was 
thinking of the supper that awaited him and perhaps of his work 
at school. He felt hungry and ill. He turned right again at the south- 
west corner of the building and cut diagonally across Konigsplatz. 
When he was near the great statue of Bismarck, he heard a sound of 
breaking glass on his right. It was a few minutes after nine o'clock. 
He looked toward the darkened building. On the first-floor balcony 
outside of the large window to the right of the central portal, he per- 
ceived dimly the figure of a man waving a burning object in his hand. 
Floter ran excitedly toward the northwest corner of the building, 
where he told a police officer what he had seen. The policeman, whose 
precise identity was never established, seemed unable to understand. 
Floter gave him a thump on the back and explained more emphat- 
ically. The policeman then ran toward the central portal. Floter was 
still hungry. A philosopher should not be concerned with the doings 
of night prowlers. He went home to supper. 1 

At the same time another passer-by had likewise seen the man on 
the balcony and had informed Police Sergeant Karl Buwert about 
9.05 p.m. Buwert and his informant ran to the central portal, where 
they saw flames behind the second window of the Reichstag restau- 
rant occupying the first floor of the southwest corner. The sergeant 
asked his companion to go to the police station at the Brandenburg 
Gate and notify the guard. Buwert was joined by a third passer-by, 
Werner Thaler, a type-setter, who had also heard breaking glass and 

1 The following account is based upon the voluminous evidence presented at the trial. 
Cf. Douglas Reed: The Burning of the Reichstag (New York: Covici-Friede; 1934). 


had seen someone possibly two persons (the light was dim) 
climbing through the northernmost window of the restaurant. 
Thaler had run back to the southwest corner, called the police, and 
then dashed up the carriageway to the central portal, where he found 
Buwert. He climbed the low parapet and saw flames on the farther 
side of the room through three ot the restaurant windows. Then fire 
leaped up nearer to him around the broken pane. He told Buwert 
what he had seen. As they watched, a flickering light appeared be- 
hind the barred and frosted windows on the ground floor beneath 
the restaurant. They followed it from window to window, moving 
along the parapet toward the corner of the building. At the fourth 
window Thaler told Buwert to shoot, since beyond the fifth window 
was massive masonry which would protect the intruder. Buwert 
fired. The light vanished. 

Buwert and Thaler waited a moment, irresolutely. Buwert then 
ran to seek help. He encountered a soldier, whom he sent to give the 
alarm at the Brandenburg Gate. He also encountered two policemen 
who had heard the shot and sent one of them to sound the fire-alarm 
in Moltkestrasse. Buwert then ran back up the carriageway and met 
Policeman Poeschel, whose beat covered the north and west sides 
of the building. Poeschel was sent to tell the porter, Wendt, at Portal 
5, that the restaurant was on fire. (Only Portal 5 on the north side 
and Portal 2 on the south were in use that evening. The central portal 
on the west side, as well as the other portals, were locked.) At this 
point Police Lieutenant Lateit from the Brandenburg Gate arrived 
with a squad, told Buwert to watch the window and give the "grand 
alarm," and then ran round the corner. It was 9.17. Buwert waited 
two minutes until a fellow officer arrived to watch the window and 
then dashed off. At 9.21 the first fire-engine arrived. The Unter den 
Linden fire-station had received the first local alarm at 9.14, and the 
station in Alt Moabit at 9.15. The firemen climbed to the balcony, 
broke through the second window, and entered the burning restau- 
rant. Curtains were ablaze, and a few pieces of furniture. The fire 
was small and easily extinguished, since the furnishings burned 
slowly or not at all. The firemen prepared to leave. 

But meanwhile Lateit, accompanied by Officer Losigkeit, had 
entered Portal 5 after circling the building and vainly trying to enter 
Portals 2, 3, and 4. At portal 5 they met the porter Wendt, who al- 
ready knew of the fire, and Scranowitz, the house inspector. They 


accompanied Scranowitz into the building, unlocking the inner 
doors with his keys. They dashed upstairs into the lobby and entered 
the great ante-room of the session hall. At 9.21 they entered the dark 
empty chamber where the Reich's legislators had deliberated for six 
decades. A curtain at the entrance was burning and flames were 
visible on the tribune opposite. But the benches were not afire and 
Lateit felt that this blaze, like the one in the restaurant, could be easily 
extinguished. He ran back to Portal 5, sent a fireman to the session 
chamber, hastened to the Brandenburg Gate, telephoned for rein- 
forcements (9.25), and returned. Portal 2 was now open. He went in 
with six policemen, amid clouds of smoke. Inside he found broken 
glass panels and bits of burning cloth. In the lobby of Portal 2 he 
found a cap and tie. He then went back under orders to the Branden- 
burg Gate guard-room. During these events, Losigkeit and Scrano- 
witz rushed through several rooms near the session chamber looking 
for incendiaries. Constable Poeschel had also entered the building 
and was searching for the culprits. He and Scranowitz went through 
the lobby around the session chamber. They looked in. The benches 
were now burning furiously. There were thirty or forty separate fires 
throughout the hall, with about four feet between them. This was 
at 9.22, scarcely a minute after Lieutenant Lateit had seen only two 
small fires. They finally reached Bismarck Hall, an ante-room north- 
east of the session chamber. Scranowitz stepped on a burning torch 
lying against a leather armchair. 

Beyond, in the shadows, stood a man wearing only trousers and 
torn shoes. Tousled hair fell over his perspiring brow. He crouched, 
but made no effort to escape, responding at once to Poeschel's order: 
"Hands up!" Scranowitz excitedly gave him a blow with his fist. The 
constable arrested him and searched him: in his side pocket a small 
knife; in the hip pocket a handkerchief, a purse, and a Dutch pass- 
port bearing the name Marinus Van der Lubbe. Nothing else. It was 
9.27. He was taken to the Brandenburg Gate station. When asked by 
Lieutenant Lateit whether he had fired the Reichstag, he said: "Yes." 
When asked his motive, he laughed like a lunatic, giggling and mut- 
tering incoherently in a mixture of Dutch and German. Two hours 
later, however, according to the unconvincing testimony of Detective 
Inspector Heisig, he was to give a detailed account of his act in ex- 
cellent German. . . . 

The session chamber was now a flaming furnace. Fire Captain 


Waldemar Klotz of the Alt Moabit station had reached the Reichs- 
tag about 9.19, entered Portal 5, and opened the door of the session 
chamber at 9.24. A great blast of heat struck him. He saw only smoke 
and a glow of fire over the nearest seats through a thick gaseous haze. 
He expected a burst of flame momentarily. He ran back and ordered 
hoses brought in. By 9.26 water was playing on the chamber. Within 
a few minutes the two small fires seen by Lateit had enveloped the 
whole hall. Three fire experts, Prof essor Josse of the Berlin Technical 
Hochschule, Director Wagner, a senior fire-department official, and 
Dr. Schatz, the chemical expert of the Reich Supreme Court later 
testified that the fire had followed a course completely different from 
that of the restaurant fire and must have been carefully prepared. 1 
Herr Gempp, head of the Berlin fire department, had observed a 
trail of gasoline in Bismarck Hall. Van der Lubbe had no gasoline, 
only fire-lighters and burning cloths, which could make little impres- 
sion on the heavy woodwork and leather of the session chamber. 
Gempp was dismissed from his post shortly after the fire, presumably 
for having announced that a truckload of unburned incendiary ma- 
terials had been carted away by the police after the conflagration. 
During the trial he indignantly denied having made any such state- 
ment. But inflammable liquid, probably self-igniting, had evidently 
been poured about in large quantities. According to the experts, 
incendiary materials had been piled in many places and connected 
by liquid fuel or celluloid strips. Van der Lubbe had perhaps lit the 
fire. But others had prepared it before his arrival. 

At 9.27 the moment of the Dutchman's arrest in Bismarck Hall 
the gases in the session chamber ignited. A slow muffled explosion 
shattered the glass in the central dome far above and gave the flames 
access to the outer air. Smoke and sparks poured out over the Konigs- 
platz and the Tiergarten. Herr Gempp gave the general alarm at 
9.42, but the fire was beyond control. The heavy brick walls of the 
Reichstag prevented it from spreading to other parts of the building. 
The chamber itself, however, was completely burned out. While the 
fire was at its height, at 10.00 o'clock, a Nazi deputy, Dr. Herbert 
Albrecht, rushed out of Portal 5 as if in flight hatless, collarless, and 
breathless. He was hailed by the police, but upon identifying himself 
was allowed to go. He had been sleeping in his pension near by, he 
said later, when he learned of the fire. He had dressed hastily and 

1 Reed, op. cit, pp. 180 f. 


rushed to the Reichstag to rescue some family papers from his locker. 
But the porter Wendt, on duty at Portal 5 since 8.00 o'clock, had not 
admitted him to the building. All the other portals had been 
locked ? * 

What the Nazi leaders were doing while the fire raged and before- 
hand can only be conjectured on the basis of their own statements, 
supplemented by other evidence, still incomplete, given at the trial. 2 
Hermann Goring, Prussian Minister of the Interior and President 
of the Reichstag, was working in his Ministry building on Unter 
den Linden when he first (?) heard the news. For weeks he had 
been planning the destruction of the Communist Party. 3 He would 
strike at the first word of the Communist "insurrection" which he 
professed confidently to expect. When he reached the Reichstag in 
his huge trench-coat and upturned fedora, he heard the word "arson" 
and knew at once, intuitively, "the Communist Party is guilty of 
this fire." It was the beacon (Fanal) of the proletarian revolution. 
Hitler had been dining with Goebbels in the latter's apartment on 
Reichskanzlerplatz. When Dr. Hanfstangl telephoned Goebbels that 
the Reichstag was on fire, Goebbels, according to his own account, 
hung up the receiver, taking the news for another clownish joke. 
Hanfstangl called again more insistently. Goebbels told Hitler and 
they drove together to the Reichstag. Here they met Goring, who 
said: "It is a Communist outrage. One man has already been ar- 
rested, a Dutch Communist, who is now being examined." Hitler 
declared that the fire was "a Sign from Heaven to show to what we 
should have come if these gentry had gained power . . . Now we 
can see where the danger lies. The German people can rest assured 
that I shall save it from this danger. . . . This is the end." 4 

Goring acted at once: 

"I then took my measures against the Communists which Hitler 
approved. ... I intended to hang Van der Lubbe at once, and no- 
body could have stopped me. I only refrained because I thought: 'We 

1 Ibid., p. 254. 

2 The version given in The Brown Eoo\ of the Hitler Terror (New York: Knopf; 
t933) according to which Goebbels planned the fire and Goring executed the plan, 
using Heines, Schulze, and Helldorf as his aides, is no longer tenable and need not 
be discussed here. Cf. Reed, op. cit., pp. 166-8 and 232 f. 

3 Cf. his testimony, November 5, 1933, before the Reich Supreme Court. 

4 Goring: Germany Reborn, pp. 132-5; Goebbels: Vom Kaiser hof zur Reic/is^anzlef t 

pp. 269-70; Reed, op. cit., pp. 299, 244. 


have one of them, but there must have been many. Perhaps we shall 
need him as a witness.' ... I knew as by intuition that the Com- 
munists fired the Reichstag. The suspicion was enough to order the 
arrest of Torgler and Koenen. We put the whole police force and state 
apparatus in motion and, as it did not suffice, we also used the storm 
troops. I left Count Helldorf a free hand in details, but I gave him 
the clear order to use his storm troops and arrest every Communist 
leader, spy, and vagabond he could lay hands on. Without the praise- 
worthy help of the storm troops the colossal success of this night, 
during which 4,000 to 5,000 Communist leaders were brought behind 
lock and bar, would not have been possible. I am convinced that a 
number of people fired the Reichstag. ... I will find the guilty and 
lead them to their punishment." x 

Here at last, and at the correct psychological moment, was the 
golden opportunity to crush the KPD, to accuse it of arson and high 
treason, and to scare the whole non-Communist electorate into the 
arms of the NSDAP with the bogy of Bolshevist revolution. The 
leaders acted at once. Before midnight, while the Reichstag was still 
burning, orders went out for the wholesale arrest of leading Com- 
munists and Socialists. Lists had already been prepared and all plans 
had been laid for such a sudden blow. Count Helldorf, leader of the 
Berlin S.A., declared later that he had ordered the arrests "on my own 
initiative and without instructions from anybody. ... In our view, 
criminal elements in the State are in general Marxists. There was 
for me no doubt that the criminals were to be found in Marxist 
ranks." 2 Goring issued an official statement accusing the Communists 
of burning the Reichstag as a signal for armed insurrection and al- 
leging (falsely) that a Communist Party membership card had been 
found on Van der Lubbe. 

On the next day President von Hindenburg was prevailed upon by 
Hitler to sign a decree "for the protection of the nation from the 
Communist Menace." 3 It suppressed all civil liberties and enabled 
the S.A., under the guise of legality, to continue wholesale arrests 
of suspects. Prisons were soon filled to overflowing and concentration 
camps were established for the surplus. On February 28 also, the 
Prussian Government Press Department issued a long statement 

1 Reed, op. cit., pp. 229-30. 

2 Ibid., pp. 166-7. 

3 Rcic hsgesetzblatt (hereinafter referred to as R.G.B.), 1933, No. 17, p. 83. 


about the "documents" alleged to have been found by the police in 
their raid on the Karl Liebknecht House on the preceding Friday. 
The statement asserted: 

"Government buildings, museums, mansions, and essential plants 
were to be burnt down. In disturbances and conflicts with the police, 
women and children were to be sent in front of the terrorist groups 
where possible, the wives and children of police officials. The sys- 
tematic carrying through of the Bolshevist revolution has been 
checked by the discovery of this material. In spite of this, the burning 
of the Reichstag was to be the signal for a bloody insurrection and 
civil war. Plans had been prepared for looting on a large scale in 
Berlin at 4.00 a.m. on Tuesday. It has been ascertained that today 
was to have seen throughout Germany terrorist acts against individ- 
ual persons, against private property, and against the life and limb 
of the peaceful population, and also the beginning of general civil 
war." x 

The documents in question, which would have constituted the 
only convincing proof of a "Communist conspiracy," have never 
been published. In all likelihood they never existed. The material 
presented to the press on September 12 by the "Union of German 
Anti-Communist Societies" purported to reveal details of a Com- 
munist "plot" involving the burning of the Reichstag, an insurrection 
in the Rhineland, and the assassination of Hitler and Hindcnburg. 
These were no documents at all, but a summary of the product of 
Goring's vivid imagination, already revealed in a radio broadcast 
of early March. No precautions whatever had been taken by the au- 
thorities to suppress the alleged insurrection "discovered" three days 
before the fire and announced after it. According to his own testi- 
mony, Goring went unsuspecting to the Reichstag and only perceived 
the "truth" when others told him of the origins of the fire. Goebbels, 
like Hitler, professed to have been taken completely by surprise. 
"Civil war" was impending, but Goebbels said later that no defensive 
measures had been taken by the Reichswehr. The police and the S.A. 
would suffice. 2 Did Hitler, Goebbels, and Goring really believe in 
the genuineness of the "documents"? No matter. The nation would 
accept salvation from Communism at the hands of the NSDAP. 
Victory on March 5 was now assured. Nothing else was important. 

1 Reed, op. cit., p. 279. 

2 Cf. his testimony of November 8, 1933, summarized in Reed, op cit., p. 235. 


Who burned the Reichstag? This mystery has not thus far been 
solved, in spite of ten thousand pages of evidence taken at the trial 
and volumes of accusation, counter-accusation, and endless debate. 
The psychopathic Dutchman, Marinus Van der Lubbe, confessed and 
insisted repeatedly that he had no accomplices. Born January 13, 1909, 
in Leyden, he had led the wandering life of a vagrant labourer. In 
1927 a splash of lime had permanently injured his sight and entitled 
him to an incapacitation allowance. In September 1931, after being 
expelled from the Dutch Communist Party, he wandered through 
Austria, Jugoslavia, and Hungary. In 1932 he travelled again as a 
tramp through Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Poland and made 
an unsuccessful effort to enter Russia. He had arrived in Berlin 
February 18, 1933, and spent most of his time in Neukolln in the east 
end, where he talked loosely and wildly with local Communists. On 
the evening of Saturday, February 25, he had supplied himself with 
a box of matches and a few household fire-lighters and had attempted, 
with no success whatever, to burn the Neukolln Welfare Office, the 
Berlin town hall, and the former Imperial Palace. Sunday night, 
February 26, he had spent in a destitutes' shelter in Henningsdorf, a 
western suburb "with the Nazis," he said on one occasion. But what 
this meant or what he did there was never made clear. On Monday 
morning he tramped back to Berlin, decided to burn the Reichstag, 
purchased more matches and fire-lighters, surveyed the outside of 
the building in the afternoon, and broke into the restaurant shortly 
after nine o'clock in the evening. 

Did Van der Lubbe alone burn the Reichstag? This youth, who 
hung his head, drooled, giggled, and usually answered questions only 
in guttural monosyllables during his trial, would have had to ac- 
complish miracles in order to have burned the building unaided. 
The police story was based on evidence taken by Detective Heissig 
and Dr. Vogt, the examining magistrates of the Supreme Court. 
Both insisted that the silent half-wit, who understood little German 
in the courtroom, had talked fluently and volubly during the original 
examination. According to their tale, he had clambered onto the 
balcony, lit some of his fire-lighters outside, kicked in the window- 
pane, climbed into the restaurant, ignited the curtain on the door 
opposite, returned to fire the curtain at the window and run out into 
the lobby and thence to the Kaiser Wilhclm Memorial Hall. Finding 
nothing inflammable there, he had taken off his upper garments, set 


fire to his shirt, run back through the restaurant into the waiters' 
room, unfolded a table cloth taken from a linen chest, and fired it 
with his burning shirt. He had then run down a narrow staircase, 
kicked in a glass door, climbed through into the kitchen, smashed 
another glass door with a plate, and passed through a number of 
rooms to a washroom (Buwert had shot at him during this flight), 
where he had set towels on fire and trailed them behind him back 
up the staircase to the Kaiser Hall. 

All of this must have been accomplished, by a half-blind man in 
the dark, in two minutes five seconds, on the basis of the most careful 
reckoning which could subsequently be made. Van der Lubbe next 
set his jacket afire, ran into the lobby around the session chamber, 
fired a tablet and a wooden desk and ignited the curtains on the 
tribune in the chamber itself. After setting fire to another curtain and 
a leather sofa he had heard voices and run to the Bismarck Hall, 
where he was apprehended unscratched and unburned. All of this, 
if the story be true, consumed not more than another nine minutes. 
At 9.12 Buwert had fired. At 9.21 Lateit saw the session chamber 
empty and already burning. Fire experts later failed in repeated ef- 
forts to burn heavy curtains, woodwork, and leather by means of 
fire-lighters and burning cloths. Five minutes after Van der Lubbe 
left the chamber, the whole room was a mass of flames and explosive 
gases. By a miracle the Dutchman might have done all this alone. 
But this explanation is the least probable of any. Van der Lubbe had 
no torch, no gasoline, no inflammable fluids. He had accomplices, 
whether known to him or not. Who were they? 

The four other men who were arrested and tried were wholly 
innocent. Ernst Torgler, parliamentary leader of the Communist 
Party, had left the Reichstag about 8.15, accompanied by Deputy 
Koenen and a secretary, Fraulein Anna Rehme. They had proceeded 
slowly to one of the Aschinger restaurants near the Friedrichstrasse 
station, half a mile away. While dining here with a few colleagues, 
Torgler had learned that the Reichstag was burning. He made no 
change in his plans. With one Birkenhauer he had gone to Alexan- 
derplatz, where he met Kuehne, the secretary of the KPD. With 
Koenen, Kiihne, and two others he had played skat far into the night 
at Stawicki's cafe. Here, to his amazement, he had learned by phone 
from Walter Oehme that his name was being linked with the fire. 
He told Oehme that he would report to the police to clear himself. 


He spent the rest of the night with Kiihne, who was arrested by de- 
tectives early in the morning. At 9.30 Torgler phoned his wife at 
Karlshorst and learned that detectives had searched his dwelling. 
Later in the morning he went with a lawyer to police headquarters, 
where he was promptly arrested and charged with arson and high 

A week later a suspicious waiter in the Bayernhof restaurant on 
Potsdamerstrasse, one Helmer, told the police of a little group of 
"Bolshevist" foreigners who were in the habit of coming to dine 
there. He had seen Van der Lubbe's picture in the papers and "re- 
called" that the Dutchman had been with this group between May 
and October 1932. This was nonsense, but Helmer nevertheless in- 
formed the police on March 7. He was told to report when he saw 
the foreigners again. On March 9 they came. He phoned. Two de- 
tectives appeared and arrested three Bulgarians: Georgi Dimitroff, 
Blagoi PopoiT, and Wassil Taneflf. All were Communist exiles from 
their own country. On February 27 DimitrofI had been engaging in 
a flirtation on the Munich-Berlin express. PopofT, who knew little 
German, had been in Berlin a few months, and Taneff, who knew no 
German, had been in the city only three days. None of them knew 
either Van der Lubbe or Torgler, nor had these two ever seen one 
another before. No proof worthy of the name was ever offered to 
show that the Bulgarians had had any contacts with the German 
Communist Party, that the party or any of its members had anything 
to do with the fire, or that Van der Lubbe was in any sense a Com- 
munist at the time. Nevertheless, these five men were arrested, in- 
dicted, kept in chains for five months in prison, and at long last 
elaborately tried with farcical results. 1 

Who burned the Reichstag? A few additional strands of evidence 
must at least be mentioned. Goring and the authors of the Brown 
BooJ^ were agreed on one thing: that those who prepared the fire 
escaped by means -of a tunnel, a hundred and fifty yards long, con- 
necting the Reichstag with the Speaker's residence and the engine- 
house behind it, both to the east of the Reichstag building across 
Hermann Goring Strasse. Paul Adermann, night porter in the 
Speaker's residence, was the only man who might have known what 
happened in the tunnel on the night of the fire. He swore that he had 
made his rounds as usual and seen no one. But many times previously 

1 Cf. pp. 330 f. below. 


he had heard mysterious footsteps in the tunnel. He had glued paper 
strips on the two iron doors leading from the tunnel and six times 
had found his strips broken. Walter Weber, commander of the 
"Hermann Goring S.S. Body-guard/* investigated the tunnel during 
the fire and testified that it was empty, with both doors locked. Were 
Adermann and Weber honest witnesses or perjurers, as were many 
others? The incendiaries, whoever they were, knew the Reichstag in 
detail and knew its routine. Between 8.25 p.m., when the lamplighter 
Scholz made his rounds, and 8.55, when the postman Otto appeared, 
they presumably planted their materials in the session chamber to be 
ignited by Van der Lubbe or by the self-igniting liquid. 1 What did 
Van der Lubbe do in Hennigsdorf on February 26? Why did the 
Nazi Dr. Albrecht leave the Reichstag at ten o'clock "as if in flight"? 
Was Wendt telling the truth in saying that he had not admitted 
Albrecht? Who dropped the torch and the gasoline in Bismarck 
Hall? What were the noises which Adermann had heard in the 
tunnel? Why did Count Helldorf order the arrest of Communists on 
his own initiative? What was Van der Lubbe half-wit, consummate 
actor, drug victim, pyromaniac, catatonic schizophrenic, manic-de- 
pressive . . . ? 

On July 23, 1934, the London Daily Herald published a story of the 
"last surviving member of the Reichstag fire gang" one E. Kruse, 
S.A. member No. 134,522. Kruse had been a personal servant of 
Rohm. According to this account, Rohm, Heines, and Karl Ernst, 
Berlin S.A. leader, recruited ten storm troopers on February 10, 1933, 
to burn the Reichstag. Van der Lubbe was employed by them as a 
dupe, with the promise that he would be arrested, sentenced, and 
then secretly pardoned and sent to America with a large fortune. The 
10 men conducted two rehearsals in the tunnel. On February 27 they 
deposited their materials, connected with celluloid strips, in the 

1 The Oberfohrcn Memorandum, upon which the Brown Boo% was based, was writ- 
ten by the parliamentary leader of the Nationalist Party. It explained the fire in terms 
of the resistance of the Nationalists in the Cabinet to the Nazi demands for the dissolu- 
tion of the KPD and for the appointment of Helldorf as Berlin police chief. According 
to this version, Gocbbcls and Goring planned the conflagration, which was executed 
by Heines and his S.A. men, with Van der Lubbe used as a dupe. Goring later asserted 
that Oberfohrcn had committed suicide when documents were discovered in his office 
showing that he had been plotting against Hugenberg (cf. Berliner Tageblatt, October 
20, 1933). In his election speech in the Sportpalast Goebbels denied these allegations 
with unusual vehemence, denounced the Brown Boofa and said: "Father, forgive 
them, for they know not what they do." 


session chamber, where Ernst and Heines lit the blaze after Van der 
Lubbe had broken into the restaurant. The participants subsequently 
disappeared one by one. Rohm threatened to reveal the truth at the 
end of June, 1934, in the face of Hitler's threats to disband the S.A. 
On June 30 Rohm, Heines, and Ernst were killed. 1 Kruse escaped 
the "purge" by accident and fled to Switzerland. 

This version would explain the noises in the tunnel, Van der 
Lubbe's contacts with the Nazis in Hennigsdorf, and his behaviour 
during the trial, but it still leaves many questions unanswered. If 
these were the perpetrators of the crime, they have been forever 
silenced. Three other men who were supposed to know have long 
since disappeared: Ernst Oberfohren was found shot to death in his 
home on May 7, 1933. George Bell, a Nazi renegade who joined the 
Centrum after the fire, was murdered on April 3, 1933, in the Tyrol 
by assailants who fled over the German frontier. Erik Hanussen, 
Nazi clairvoyant who "foretold" the fire on February 26, vanished. 
His body was found in a lonely wood on April 7, 1933. The mystery 
remains unsolved. 2 


THE immediate effect of the Reichstag fire was to throw the entire 
German peasantry and bourgeoisie into a frenzy of fear. The Na- 
tionalists in the Cabinet still opposed the formal outlawry of the 
KPD, but were obliged to acquiesce in its practical suppression. All 
Communist papers in Germany and all Socialist papers in Prussia 
were suppressed. On March i hundreds of new arrests were made. 
In the evening Hitler, Papen, Hugenberg, Goring, and Seldte all 

1 The New Yor% Times, July 23, 1934. 

2 Le Journal (Paris) for December 4, 1934, and Socialisfische Action (Prague) for 
mid-December 1934, published the text of an alleged confession by Karl Krnst dated 
June 3, 1934, written and secretly sent abroad because of the author's fears for his life. 
According to this version, which is as plausible as Krusc's, though difTering from his 
account at various points and making no mention of his name, Van der Lubbc was 
permitted to the end to believe that he acted alone. After Goring*s original suggestion 
for a faked attempt to assassinate Hitler was rejected, Gocbbels suggested the burning 
of the Reichstag. Goring approved. Rohm, Heines, Killingcr, and Helldorf prepared 
the plans, which were made known to Hanfstangl and Sander and carried out by 
Ernst, Fiedler, and Mohrenschild. The three men entered the session chamber by way 
of the tunnel to Goring's residence at 8.45 and left by the same route at 9.05, having 
soaked the furnishings with gasoline and with a phosphorous compound which ignited 
spontaneously within thirty minutes. Rohm, Heines, Ernst, Fiedler, Mohrenschild, and 
Sander were all slain in the "purge** of June 30, 1934. 


broadcast speeches against the "Red peril." Goring accused the KPD 
of plotting to poison food, burn granaries, and by the use of false 
orders provoke an occupation of Berlin by the S.A. and thus precipi- 
tate a conflict with the Reichswehr. On the evening of March 2 Hitler 
made another election speech in the Sportpalast, painting Russia's 
misery under Communism in vivid colours and denouncing Marx- 
ism and democracy. 

The Nazi campaign culminated on Friday, March 3, with a great 
"Day of the Awakening Nation." Throughout the Reich, storm 
troopers and party members marched with torches. On all the hills 
along the Rhine, in the Bavarian Alps, in the Harz, and on the towers 
of ancient cities the fires of liberation flamed skyward. In all impor- 
tant squares in every town, loudspeakers were installed to broadcast 
Der Fiihrer's final appeal from Konigsberg: 

"I live not for Socialism. I live not for Nationalism. I live not for 
democracy. I live not for pacifism. Everything must serve life. Either 
a thing is useful to life, then it is good; or it harms life, then it is bad. 
. . . We know that the highest Nationalism and the highest Social- 
ism are the same: they are the highest service of the people, not for a 
group and not for a class. . . . Never forget the German peasant! 
All of us would not exist if he did not exist before us! He is the source 
out of which our people ever grow. . . . Peasant and worker, even 
the most primitive, are the healthiest and most eternally growing 
sources of the strength of the nation." * 

The program ended with a prayer: "O Lord, make us free!" On 
the same day the small unheeded voice of Briining declared that the 
Centrum would resist any overthrow of the Constitution. He de- 
manded an investigation of the Reichstag fire and appealed to Hin- 
denburg "to protect the suppressed against their oppressors." Neudeck 
was silent as thirty-five thousand S.A. men paraded through Berlin. 
On the eve of the election gigantic mass demonstrations against 
Marxism were held everywhere. On Sunday, March 5, the nation 

1 Cf. Gehl, op. cit., pp. 87-8. 



Qualified Voters 44,685,764 

Voted 39,655,029 88.7 per cent 

Total Deputies Elected 647 


Scats Won Popular Votes of Total 

Communist Party 81 4,848,058 12.3 

Social Democrats 120 7,181,629 18.3 

State Party 5 334> 2 4 2 -8 

Christian Social People's Service 4 3^3,999 io 

Centrum 74 ) ft 

Bavarian People's Party i8/ 5>49,457 M-o 

German Peasant's Party 2 114,048 0.3 

German People's Party 2 432,312 i.i 
Black-White-Red Fighting Front 

(Nationalists and Stahlhclm) 52 3,136,760 8.0 

NSDAP 288 17,277,180 43.9 

Despite hysteria, coercion, and the most intensive campaigning, 
the NSDAP still failed to secure a clear majority. From 11,737,000 to 
17,277,000, from 32 per cent to 44 per cent was an appreciable gain, 
but ftot as impressive a one as might have been expected in view of 
what had intervened. The new Nazi voters came from the four 
million who had stayed home on November 6 and also apparently 
from the ranks of the Communists. 2 In many peasant constituencies 
in the east and north the Nazis secured a majority: East Prussia, 
56.5 per cent; Frankfurt-on-the-Oder, 55.2; Pomcrania, 56.3; Breslau, 
50.2; Liegnitz, 54.0; Schleswig-Holstein, 53.2; East Hanover, 54.3; 
Chemnitz-Zwickau, 50.0. The party fared badly, as usual, in the 
highly industrialized districts: Berlin, 31.3 per cent; North West- 
phalia, 34.9; South Westphalia, 33.8; Cologne-Aachen, 30.1, etc. The 
bludgeoned and discredited KPD lost only a million votes, and the 
other "Marxist" party, the Social Democrats, lost only 70,000 votes. 
The persecuted Centrum gained 200,000 votes and Hugcnberg's 
Nationalists 117,000. The Nazis and Nationalists together had a 52 
per cent majority. But the exclusion of the 81 Communist deputies 

1 Statistlschcs ]ahrbuch fiir das dcutschc Reich, 1933, pp. 539-41. 

2 The NSDAP gained 5,540,000 votes. The KPD lost 1,132,000 votes and 3,897,000 
people who voted on March 5 had not voted on November 6. These two groups 
totalled 5,029,000. 


would give the NSDAP alone a majority of 5 in the new Reichstag. 
Had the party been outlawed and barred from the ballot, its sup- 
porters might well have swelled the ranks of the other opposition 
parties and made a Nazi majority in the Reichstag impossible. As it 
was, the problem was simple. Communist deputies were excluded. 

Hitler, with his obsession for "legality," and his intuitive grasp of 
the revolutionary logic of his movement, avoided any hasty action 
designed to eliminate the non-Nazi elements in the regime. Each 
step must be carefully prepared, psychologically and "constitution- 
ally." Hugenberg, Papen & Company must not be struck down from 
above. They must be undermined from below and left suspended 
in mid-air. Meanwhile the forms of law must be observed and the 
nation must be subjected to an intensive process of emotional reorien- 
tation. The substitution of the symbols of the new order for those 
of the old was begun on March 12, when Hindenburg was prevailed 
upon to abolish the black, red, and gold republican flag and to give 
the Reich two new official flags : the old monarchist black, white, and 
red and the Halten^reuz flag of the NSDAP. March 12 was also 
proclaimed a day of mourning for the war dead. Bernard Rust, 
Federal Commissioner for the Prussian Ministry of Science, Art, 
and Education (he was named Minister on April 21), addressed the 
schoolchildren by radio. He evoked heroic memories and appealed to 
the mothers and fathers, the widows and orphans of the fallen. Not 
in vain had they died. From their graves had come the German hero- 
spirit which would now once more unite all Germans into a powerful 
State after fourteen years of weakness and disgrace. On the i5th 
Hindenburg signed a decree establishing black, white, and red as 
the official colours of the army. 

The new Reichstag was called together in the Garrison Church 
at Potsdam on March 21. "Germany has awakened!" declared Goeb- 
bels. "Beflag your houses. On the evening of March 21 torchlight 
parades of the national parties and organizations, of the students and 
schoolchildren, shall march through all the cities and villages of the 
entire Reich! On our German mountains and hills the fires of freedom 
shall flame up!" 1 On the great "Day of Potsdam" Hindenburg paid 
homage to the war dead and dedicated the Reich to the national 
resurrection. Religious services preceded the convocation of the depu- 
ties. Hitler took no part in the Catholic services, since the bishops 

1 Public appeal of March 18, 1933, 


had barred all members of the NSDAP from the sacraments as 
traitors to the Church. He and Goebbels contented themselves with 
laying a wreath on the grave of dead comrades in a Berlin cemetery. 
In the little Baroque church in Potsdam, Hindenburg greeted the 
Reichstag, urging the Ministers and deputies to work together for 
Germany's liberation in the spirit of the old Prussia. The Social 
Democrats were excluded. Radios broadcast the ceremonies to all 
schools. Hitler likewise addressed the assembly: 

"For years heavy sorrows have burdened our people. ... In spite 
of industry and a will to work, despite ability and rich knowledge 
and experience, millions of Germans today seek in vain their daily 
bread. Business is devastated, finance is shattered, millions without 
work! . . . Always after exaltation follows a fall. The causes have 
always been the same. The German in himself disintegrated, dis- 
united in spirit, divided in will and therewith impotent in deed, is 
powerless to preserve his own life. He dreams of justice in the stars 
and loses his land upon the earth. . . . 

"Out of the madness of the theory of eternal victors and vanquished 
came the folly of reparations and in its wake the catastrophe of our 
world economy. . . . On March 5 the people decided to support us 
by its majority. In a unique uprising it restored the national honour 
within a few weeks and, thanks to your understanding, Herr Reichs- 
president, consummated the marriage between the symbols of ancient 
glory and young strength. . . . We wish to restore the unity of spirit 
and of will of the German nation. We wish to protect the eternal 
foundation of our lives: our people and the powers and virtues given 
to them. We wish to subject the organization and leadership of our 
State to those principles which in all periods have been the pre- 
requisites of the greatness of the people and of the Reich. . . ." 

Stability and authority must be restored, Der Fiihrer continued. 
The "primacy of politics which is called to organize and to lead the 
life struggle of the nation" must be regained. A true German com- 
munity must be rebuilt. "From peasants, burghers, and workers there 
must again emerge One German People." Faith, Culture, Honour, 
and Freedom must be recovered. The old Field Marshal whom Hitler 
had condemned as a useless anachronism only six months before he 
now praised to the skies. 1 Hindenburg beamed. The organ played 
Brahms. While the artillery outside fired salutes, the President laid 

1 GehJ, op. cit., pp. 100-4. 


wreaths on the tombs of Frederick William I and Frederick the 
Great. He then reviewed a great parade of Reichswehr, police, storm 
troopers, Stahlhelmers, etc. 

In the afternoon the Reichstag met in Berlin in the Kroll Opera, 
with the Social Democrats now permitted to participate. Goring, in 
opening the session, recalled that on the same day sixty-two years 
before, Bismarck had opened the first German Reichstag. Slowly the 
people had been divided and disrupted. Thanks to Hitler, unity 
would now again be restored. Fourteen years of want and shame lay 
behind. Now Weimar had been overcome and the spirit of Potsdam 
had triumphed. The new flags symbolized Honour, Freedom, Power, 
Faith, and Hope. . . . Far into the night, all over Germany, paraders 
marched, torches sputtered, beacon lights flared, bands played, huge 
multitudes chanted hymns, and all patriots experienced an exaltation 
reminiscent of 1914. 

On March 23 Nazi and Nationalist deputies introduced into the 
Reichstag a "Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von VolJ^ und Reich!' 
This brief Enabling Act x was designed to give the Cabinet a free 
hand in its work of "national reconstruction": 

"Article i. National laws can be enacted by the national cabinet as well 
as in accordance with the procedure established in the constitution. This 
applies also to the laws referred to in Article 85, Paragraph 2, and in 
Article 87 of the constitution. 

"Article 2. The national laws enacted by the national cabinet may 
deviate from the constitution in so far as they do not affect the position of 
the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The powers of the President remain 

"Article 3. The national laws enacted by the national cabinet are 
prepared by the chancellor and published in the Reichsgesctzblatt. They 
come into effect, unless otherwise specified, upon the day following their 
publication. Articles 68 to 77 of the constitution do not apply to the laws 
enacted by the national cabinet. 

"Article 4. Treaties of the Reich with foreign states which concern 
matters of national legislation do not require the consent of the bodies 
participating in legislation. The national cabinet is empowered to issue 
the necessary provisions for the execution of these treaties. 

"Article 5. This law becomes effective on the day of its publication. It 
becomes invalid on April i, 1937; it further becomes invalid when the 

1 R.G.B., 1933, No. 25, p. 141; translation from Pollock and Heneman: The Hitlc* 
Decrees, pp. 13, 14. 


present national cabinet is replaced by another." 

Articles 85 and 87 of the Weimar Constitution insured parliamen- 
tary control of the Reich budget. Articles 68 to 77 gave the Reichstag 
control of legislation and partial control of constitutional amend- 
ments. Henceforth the Cabinet could appropriate money and legislate 
without any responsibility to the Reichstag or any obligation to re- 
spect the Constitution. Here was no proposal to rule by decree because 
of the absence of parliamentary support. The new Cabinet possessed 
a majority in the Reichstag. The intention was rather to sweep away 
parliamentary government entirely. 

Hitler delivered a long address demanding approval of the En- 
abling Act. He condemned the Marxist revolution of 1918 and the 
System of Weimar. The liberalism of the last century had logically 
developed into Communist chaos, robbery, arson, murder, and ter- 
rorism. "The setting on fire of the Reichstag, as an unsuccessful at- 
tempt forming part of a well-organized plan, is only a sample of 
what Europe had to expect from the victory of this infernal doctrine. 
When a certain section of the press, especially abroad, now attempts, 
in accordance with political untruth adopted as a principle by Com- 
munism, to identify the national renaissance in Germany with this 
outrage, this can only strengthen my determination to leave nothing 
undone in order to exact expiation for this crime by the public execu- 
tion of the guilty incendiary and his accomplices. ... It will be the 
highest task of the national government, not only in the interest of 
Germany, but in the interest of the rest of Europe, to conquer and 
eliminate this symptom in our land." (Stormy applause from the 
government parties.) 

The German worker must be won to the national State. Unity 
must be created. Further reforms must grow out of living develop- 
ments. "Its end must be the construction of a constitution which will 
join the will of the people with the authority of genuine leadership." 
Equality before the law would be extended only to supporters of the 
government. "The question of a monarchical restoration ... is not 
now subject to discussion." (Applause from the Nazis, silence from 
the Nationalists.) A thorough moral cleansing of the people must be 
brought about. "Heroism raises itself as the coming .creator and 
leader of political destiny. It is the function of art to give expression 
to this decisive Zeitgeist. Blood and race will again become the sources 
of artistic intuition. . . . Our jurisprudence must serve in the first 


instance the maintenance of the People's Community (Volfogemein- 
schaft). . . . Treason shall in the future be blotted out with bar- 
baric ruthlessness." (Loud applause on the Right.) 

In the economic sphere "the people do not live for business, and 
business does not exist for capital, but capital serves business, and 
business the people." There would be no resort to a government 
bureaucracy, but "the strongest support of private initiative and the 
recognition of property.*' (Applause from the Nationalists.) Taxes 
would be lightened and public expenditures reduced. There would 
be no currency experiments. Two great economic tasks are primary : 
"The rescue of the German peasant must under all circumstances 
be achieved. . . . The army of the unemployed must be restored to 
the productive process." The government must "protect and further 
the millions of German workers in their struggle for the right to 
live. As Chancellor and Nationalsocialist, I feel myself bound to 
them as companions of my youth." (Applause.) Autarchy is un- 
thinkable for Germany: "It must always and again be emphasized 
that nothing lies farther from the government than hostility toward 

In closing, Hitler asked approval of the Enabling Act on the 
ground that the government in its work of recovery must not be 
expected to appeal to the Reichstag for approval of each specific 

"Authority and the fulfilment of the task would suffer if doubts 
should arise among the people regarding the stability of the new 
regime. The government regards as impossible a further session of 
the Reichstag in the present condition of profound excitement in 
the nation. There is scarcely a revolution of such great proportions 
which has run its course in so disciplined and bloodless a fashion as 
the uprising of the German people in these weeks. It is my will and 
my firmest intention to foster this peaceful development also in 
the future. 

"All the more necessary is it that the national government shall 
be given every sovereign right which, in such a period, is necessary to 
prevent a different development. The government will only make 
use of these powers in so far as they are essential for carrying out the 
vitally necessary measures. Neither the existence of the Reichstag 
nor that of the Reichsrat is menaced. The position and rights of the 
President of the Reich remain unaffected. It will always be the fore- 


most task of the government to act in harmony with his aims. The 
separate existence of the federal states will not be done away with. 
The rights of the churches will not be diminished and their relation- 
ship to the State will not be modified. The number of cases in which 
an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in 
itself a limited one. All the more, however, the government insists 
upon the passing of the law. It prefers a clear decision, in any case. 
It asks from the parties of the Reichstag the possibility of a peaceable 
development and the reconciliation which in the future will flow 
therefrom. The government, however, is equally resolved and pre- 
pared to accept the announcement of refusal and therewith the dec- 
laration of opposition. May you, meine Herren, now decide your- 
selves between peace or war." * 

Here, despite promises of "barbaric ruthlessness" and the closing 
threat, was a masterpiece of moderation. The ears of Germany and 
of all the world were listening. Within the Reich all criticism had 
been silenced. But throughout Europe and America the new gov- 
ernment had had a "bad press" from the outset. The NSDAP was 
under accusation of having burned the Reichstag and of contemplat- 
ing the persecution of workers and Jews, the rearmament of the 
nation, and the adoption of a policy of internal despotism and exter- 
nal aggression. The Chancellor, well advised by Neurath and Goeb- 
bels, spoke softly. Everyone was reassured. The address achieved its 
purpose, at least within Germany. Foreign journalists remained 
skeptical, but cautious business men took heart, and labour leaders 
began to wonder whether the new regime was after all as black as 
the Communists had painted it. Der Fiihrer had said that the Reichs- 
tag, the Reichsrat, the presidency, states rights, the churches, and the 
trade unions would remain undisturbed. Millions believed him. 
This atmosphere of reassurance and hesitation was essential to dis- 
integrate in advance all possible resistance to that relentless seizure 
of complete power which the Nazi leaders were already planning. 
All Germany, and if possible all the world, must think that the 
fanaticism and dictatorial fantasies of the NSDAP had been sobered 
by the responsibilities of office and had given way to reason and 

The Reichstag session did not end without melodrama. After a 
three-hour recess Otto Wels, the Social Democratic leader, took the 

1 Gehl, op. cit., pp. 110-21. 


floor to affirm that his party had always been patriotic and solicitous 
of national honour. "The Chancellor spoke yesterday in Potsdam a 
sentence to which we subscribe. It reads: Trom the madness of the 
theory of eternal conquerors and conquered came the folly of repara- 
tions and in its wake the catastrophe of world economy.' This sen- 
tence applies to foreign policy. For internal politics it applies no less. 
Here, too, the theory of eternal conquerors and conquered is a bit 
of madness." The Social Democratic Party could not vote for the 
Enabling Act. The Cabinet had a majority and had therefore the 
possibility and the duty of ruling according to the Constitution. 
Criticism is wholesome and necessary. Rights should be respected. 
If the gentlemen of the Nazi party desired to achieve socialistic 
deeds, they would need no Enabling Act. They would possess an 
overwhelming majority in the Reichstag. "We German Social Demo- 
crats pledge ourselves solemnly in this historic hour to the principles 
of humanity and justice, of freedom and socialism. No Enabling 
Act can give you the power to destroy ideas which are eternal and 
indestructible. . . ." 

Hitler replied ironically and bitterly : "You come late, but yet you 
come! . . ." Where was your struggle against the war-guilt lie and 
against reparations when you were in power? Where was honour 
when you adopted an alien Constitution and foreign colours at the 
behest of foreign foes? Where were "equal rights" when you perse- 
cuted our supporters? Who loves Germany may criticize us. Who 
belongs to an International cannot criticize us. Read the lies about 
Germany in your Socialist papers abroad. "You say you are the only 
representatives of socialism in Germany? You are the representatives 
of a mysterious socialism which the German people could never 
perceive in actuality ... By your fruits shall you also be known 
and the fruits testify against you! ... In everything, Herr Deputy, 
you come too late. . . . You are no longer needed. . . . The star 
of Germany will rise and yours will sink. . . . Whatever in the 
lives of people becomes rotten, old, and decrepit passes and does not 
come back. ... I declare no eternal war. I give my hand to anyone 
who pledges himself to Germany, but I do not recognize an Inter- 
national in that offer. ... I do not in the least want your votes. 
Germany shall be free, but not through you!" (Stormy applause.) 1 

Dr. Kaas for the Centrum, Ritter von Lex for the Bavarian Peo- 

1 Gehl, op. cit., pp. 121 . 


pie's Party, and Dr. Maier for the State Party all expressed reluctant 
and hesitant approval of the Enabling Act. Goring declared that the 
time for talking was past, the time for action had come. "Let the 
others lie, we shall work and our leader, the Chancellor of the Reich, 
may be certain that this faction also will talk no more, but will only 
work and will follow him in true obedience and in blind faith until 
the triumph of Germany!" While thousands of citizens and storm 
troopers outside the hall cheered and shouted for the Enabling Act, 
the vote was taken. 

For: 441. 

Against: 94. 

Only the Social Democrats voted against the government. Goring 
adjourned the session. Within a week the NSDAP would begin to 
move, by propaganda and by terror, against friends and foes alike 
toward the establishment of an undiluted Fascist dictatorship. 
The Nazi deputies sang lustily: 

Raise high the flags! Stand rank on rank together. 
Storm troopers march with steady quiet tread. . . . 




MONOPOLISTIC capitalism, aided by Junker militarism and nationalist 
reaction, placed Hitler in power in January 1933. The initial "victory" 
was but the prelude to the establishment of the single party dictator- 
ship of the NSDAP. Dcr Fiihrer had not studied the career of Mus- 
solini in vain. II Duce, in the months after October 1922, had not 
sufficiently employed the weapons of terrorism, collective hysteria, 
race prejudice, and national megalomania. He had therefore been 
obliged to proceed slowly and cautiously. Not until 1925 were all 
other political groups dissolved and outlawed by the Fascisti. What 
the Italian Dictator had done in three years Hitler was to do in three 
months. The specific tools of power employed by the NSDAP will 
be dealt with in the remainder of this volume, along with their re- 
sults and limitations. It will suffice here merely to notice the major 
steps whereby all remnants of the old order were destroyed and the 
Nationalsocialist Party was enabled to achieve a monopoly of au- 

This process can best be considered in terms of the basic questions 
of all political analysis : Where are the focal points of power ? What 
social groups in the community control the machinery of the State? 
These questions can never be answered adequately by simply tak- 
ing cognizance of the political leaders and party groups which hold 
important public posts and constitute the "government." Even on 
this superficial level the situation in Germany in the spring of 1933 
was confused enough, in view of the composition of the Hitler Cab- 
inet. The problem, however, is a more fundamental one. What is 
the relationship between those wielding governmental authority and 

the equilibrium of power between groups and classes in the whole 



community? More specifically, what is the relationship between the 
class composition, the ideology, the "interests," and the overt behav- 
iour of a revolutionary regime recently arrived in office and the 
existing distribution nrsociety of power, wealth, income, and def- 
erence ? 

This question involves a consideration of the effect of the conquest 
of the State by the NSDAP on the existing structure of German 
society and on the whole socio-political process whereby that struc- 
ture was maintained and modified. There was some initial doubt as 
to the precise class orientation of the new regime. Its spokesmen, to 
be sure, were avowed enemies of class consciousness, clasS conflict, 
trade unionism, democracy, and Marxism. They would therefore 
presumably proceed to reduce the proletariat to economic and polit- 
ical helplessness. And since power is relative and since in the distribu- 
tion of a constant or declining national income the gain of one class 
is the loss of another, the proletariat (and to a lesser degree the 
Kleinbiirgertum and the peasantry) was precisely the class at whose 
expense the elite must render itself more secure and more prosperous. 
The doubt lay in the circumstance that the NSDAP was by profes- 
sion a "workers' " party, with a "socialistic" program. The program 
had long since been modified and rendered safe for propertied in- 
terests. And the party had its main sources of popular support in the 
peasantry and lower middle classes, who were more anti-proletarian 
than anti-capitalist. But there were still proletarian radicals in the 
party. The passivity of the workers in the face of the Nazi revolution 
was in no small measure due to the widespread belief among wage- 
earners that the NSDAP was not, after all, an anti-labour party, 
however anti-Marxist it might be. Would the party leadership act 
against the proletariat and thereby serve the purposes of the ruling 
classes? Could it safely do so without provoking dangerous opposi- 
tion among its own Left-wing followers and among the workers in 
general, who still possessed the best-organized and most impressive 
trade-union organization in the western world? 

The earlier attitudes of the Nazi leaders toward labour were 
reasonably clear. Hitler's anti-proletarian and anti-trade-union ani- 
mus, like his anti-Semetism, was acquired in his years of penury in 
pre-war Vienna. Marxism and the Social Democratic unions he 
viewed as twin weapons of the Jewish world conspiracy. But at the 
same time he professed his solicitude for the interests of the working 


man and his enthusiasm for a new type of "national" unionism com- 
parable in the economic sphere to Nationalsocialism in the political 
sphere. ^ 

"The Nationalsocialist union is no organ of class war, but an organ 
of vocational representation. The Nazi State knows no classes, but 
in a political sense only citizens (Burger) with completely equal 
rights and also equal common duties, and next to them nationals 
(Staatsangehorige) who, however, in a political sense are entirely 
without rights [i.e., Jews]. . . . Not the union as such is directed 
toward cl^ss war, but Marxism has made of it an instrument for its 
class war. It uses the economic weapons which the international 
world-Jew utilizes for the ruination of the economic bases of free 
independent national States, for the annihilation of national indus- 
try and national trade, and therewith for the enslavement of free 
peoples in the service of supergovernmental Jewish world-finance." * 

Hitler further argued that Nazi unions must never use the weapon 
of the strike to disturb national production, but only to correct con- 
ditions harmful to the general welfare. Workers and employers have 
common duties to society. State and Fatherland take precedence over 
all class interests. Strikes would have no justification after the crea- 
tion of the Nazi State, for then vocational chambers and an economic 
parliament would settle all differences pacifically. The parties should 
not set up new unions, but work through the existing Marxist unions 
to destroy them. 2 This policy underwent many vicissitudes in the 
interest of winning proletarian converts. The Niirnberg party con- 
gress of 1929 resolved that all strike-breakers should be expelled from 
the party in disgrace. The Reichs-Betriebszellenabteilung of the party 
modified this position by declaring that members might be expelled 
who acted as scabs in strikes sanctioned by the NSBO. The NSBO, 
however, never became a genuine trade union, but remained an or- 
ganization of Nazi "cells" within the existing unions. Its leaders 
talked of strikes, but conducted none. 

Reinhold Muchow, founder and leader of the NSBO, wrote in 
Arbeitertum, August i, 1931, that the NSBO would lead German 
Socalism to victory and would support strikes against wage reduc- 
tions designed to help in the fulfilment of the Young Plan. Before 
the presidential election of 1932 a Nazi campaign leaflet: Zehn 

1 Mein Kampf, pp. 674-5. 


Fragen an Hitler, declared that the movement supported the existing 
system of collective bargaining and wage rates and recognized la- 
bour's right to strike ,"so long as the existing unethical capitalistic 
economic system remained in Germany." x The party, however, 
sponsored strike-breaking activities in a number of instances. But the 
NSBO was compelled, as a means of retaining its members, to sup- 
port the Berlin metal-workers' strike in 1930 and the Berlin transport 
strike in 1932. This led to protests from industrialist supporters. On 
December 17, 1932, Hitler announced in the V.B. that all participa- 
tion in strikes must henceforth be approved by the central party 

Reliable estimates as to the extent to which the NSBO penetrated 
the unions prior to 1933 are difficult to secure, but it seems safe to 
assert that the Nazi propaganda made little direct impression on the 
great majority of German trade unionists. The NSBO was organized 
into thirty-three geographical sections paralleling the party organiza- 
tion. As in the party, all leaders were appointed from above and mem- 
bers were pledged to uncritical discipline and obedience. During 
1931-2 the party, in co-operation with the NSBO, waged a vigorous 
campaign under the slogan: "Hinein in die Betriebe!" (Into the fac- 
tories!). The HIB-Afyion was intensively organized. 2 An order of 
the Reichsleitung of February 10, 1932, required every party mem- 
ber who was a worker or employee to join the NSBO. The NSBO 
also sought to induce non-party members to join, but with little suc- 
cess. None of the major unions was effectively penetrated. Approxi- 
mately 4,500,000 German wage-earners in the "independent" unions 
and 700,000 in the Catholic trade unions remained loyal to their 
Marxist or Centrist leaders and refused to be cajoled or coerced by 
Nazi blandishments. The two political parties of the proletariat like- 
wise remained intact, in form at least, until the end. In every national 
election save those of July 31, 1932, and March 5, 1933, ^e combined 
Socialist and Communist vote exceeded that of the NSDAP by a 
comfortable margin. 3 

1 F. David: 1st die NSDAP erne sozialistischc Parlei? (Vienna: Int. Arbeiter Vcrlag; 

i933) P- 33- 

2 Goebbcls: Vom Kaiserhoj zur Reichskanzlci , p. 19. 

3 Cf. F. David, op. cit., pp. 8-12; Die Nazi-Schutzgarde der Ausbeuter und Profitjiiger 
(Berlin: Bctricb und Gcwcrkschaft; 1931), passim; Gerhard Starckc: NSBO und 
Deutsche Arbeitsjront (Berlin: Robbing; 1934); P. Blankenburg and M. Dreyer: 
Nationalsozialistischer W irt$cha\tsau\bau und seine Grundlagen (Berlin: Zcntralver- 
lag; I934)- 


Why, then, did the strong and well-established organizations of 
the German proletariat collapse like a house of cards in the spring 
of 1933? An adequate answer to this question would require a de- 
tailed analysis and evaluation of the psychology and tactics of the 
unions and of the Socialist and Communist parties. For years the 
two great parties of the proletariat had fought one another more 
effectively and consistently than they fought their common enemy. 
The Communists made slow but steady electoral gains after 1928, 
largely at the expense of the Socialists. But the KPD never succeeded 
in gaining control of the trade unions. The "Red opposition" was in 
general helpless to control union policy. The union bureaucracy was 
closely integrated with the leadership of the Socialist Party and re- 
mained its great source of financial and political support. The Social 
Democratic leaders, however, had long since lost all disposition to 
resist Fascism by force. The party which drowned the proletarian 
revolution in blood in 1918-19 never made even a gesture toward 
forcible resistance of the NSDAP in 1930-3. The Social Democratic 
leaders were ideologically democrats rather than socialists and were 
committed to "legality" at all times. Through legality they had built 
up their vast organization in the bourgeois democratic era. The party 
and its unions worked not for social revolution nor even socializa- 
tion, but for improvement in the economic status of labour within 
the framework of the democratic capitalistic State. Through its own 
organizations and through the Reichsbanner it fought (verbally) for 
the preservation of German democracy and therewith for the main- 
tenance of the bourgeois social and economic order of which parlia- 
mentary democracy was the traditional political expression. When 
the elite of this society repudiated democracy and embraced Fascism, 
the Social Democratic leaders were left stranded. And when Hitler, 
by "democratic," "legal," and "constitutional" means, won a mass 
following and secured power, the Socialists were helpless, for they 
could not oppose legality by illegal resistance and still remain true to 
their "principles." 

This psychology of defeatism on the part of German Social Democ- 
racy made any united fighting front of the proletariat against Hitler 
impossible. The Social Democratic workers were quite as irrational 
and as much out of touch with reality as the Nazi Kleinbiirgertum 
and peasantry. But the neurosis in the former case left its victims in 
a state of coma (collective catatonic schizophrenia), while in the lat- 


ter case it expressed itself in dynamic delirious activism (paranoic 
schizophrenia). Hysteria in politics is always more effective than 
catalepsy. The KPD preached revolution and won increasing num- 
bers of workers to its banner. But it could never act in a revolutionary 
fashion without the support of the Social Democratic Party and the 
unions. That support was never forthcoming, for the Socialist lead- 
ers alleged that the Communists desired to utilize a "united front" 
merely for their own partisan advantage. The allegation was often 
enough correct, but the logical correctness of the assumption ren- 
dered the non-co-operative policy based upon it no less fatal for both 
parties. Social Democracy preferred its own death at the hands of 
the Nazis to its absorption or "betrayal" by the KPD. It did not re- 
peat the mistake of Kerensky. If compelled to choose between Fas- 
cism and Communism, the Socialists would choose Fascism. 

In April 1932 the KPD and the Red trade-union opposition issued 
their first general appeal for a united front to combat wage reduc- 
tions. The Socialist leaders refused. The second appeal was made on 
July 20, 1932 (after "the rape of Prussia"), directly to the executives 
of the Socialist Party and the General Trade-union Federation. The 
Communists proposed a general strike against the Papen Cabinet, 
to compel the repeal of the emergency decrees and the dissolution of 
the S.A. The Socialist leaders denounced the appeal as a "provoca- 
tion" and declared that Fascism could be opposed only by the ballot. 
On January 30, 1933, the KPD made its third appeal. The Socialists 
replied that Hitler had secured power "legally" and should not be 
opposed. On March i, 1933, after the Reichstag fire, the KPD made 
its last appeal. It was ignored. The Socialist and trade-union leaders 
were attempting to secure "toleration" in the Nazi regime. 1 Any 

1 R. Palme Dutt: Fascism and Social Revolution (New York: International Publishers; 
J 934)> PP 1 20- 1. Even after its destruction and the imprisonment or flight of its 
leaders, the remnants of the SPD remained loyal to their "principles." In Socialism's 
New Beginning A Manifesto from Underground Germany, by "Miles" (translation 
published by the League for Industrial Democracy, New York, 1934), the KPD is 
blamed for the triumph of Hitler because it drained away the radical elements from 
Social Democracy and thereby made it more conservative (pp. 103-4). Bourgeois 
democracy and a return to Weimar remain the objectives after the overthrow of Fas- 
cism. "We revolutionary Socialists know that the resumption of the Socialist struggle 
for emancipation in the form of a mass movement is impossible without the restora- 
tion of democracy. We know, therefore, that our immediate political objective is the 
overthrow of the Fascist State and its replacement by a democratic regime" to be 
characterized, however (in what fashion is unspecified), by the "sole domination" o 
the Socialist Party (pp. 139-40). 


general strike would abrogate the collective wage agreements which 
they valued so highly. Union funds, moreover, were at a low ebb. 
No chances could be taken. 

The Communist leaders also, despite the essential correctness of 
their analysis of the situation, were paralyzed by curiously neurotic 
inhibitions. While "revolutionary," they were committed only to mass 
revolutionary action. The SPD made this impossible. The logical 
alternative was individual revolutionary action that is, terrorism. 
But this weapon the KPD refused to use, Nazi allegations to the con- 
trary notwithstanding. The Communist reply that such tactics would 
have alienated public opinion and led to the suppression of the party 
is unconvincing. This position was due in part to the policy of the 
Moscow Comintern and in part to the paralysis of the KPD itself. 
The party was to be suppressed in any case. And the largest and best- 
organized Communist movement in the bourgeois world was to be 
destroyed without lifting a finger in its own defence. 

In this situation the Nazi leaders calculated correctly that they had 
nothing to fear from the Socialist Party and its trade unions, nor 
even from the KPD. Any disposition to fight on the part of the rank 
and file of the workers' organizations was destroyed by disgust and 
resentment at the cowardice of its leaders. The NSDAP could pro- 
ceed to smash Marxism without encountering resistance. But the 
Left wing within the ranks must be placated and the masses of work- 
ers must, if possible, be won over to loyalty to the new order. The 
Nazi leaders therefore proceeded cautiously toward their goal. The 
mailed fist was hidden in a velvet glove of friendship. During March 
and April there was no organized attack upon the trade unions. Such 
acts of violence as took place were sporadic. The Nazi leaders con- 
tinued to preach "true Socialism." * A master stroke of propaganda 
was achieved in the party's decision to convert May i into a 
great "Day of National Labour." The emotional fervour attached 
to the traditional holiday of the European revolutionary prole- 
tariat was thereby transferred to the new regime. The propensity 
of wage-earners to parade on May Day would be satisfied and 
the remnants of the SPD and the KPD would be deprived of all 
opportunity for demonstrating against Fascism. The result would 
be a test of the ability of the NSDAP and the NSBO to 

1 Cf. Goring's speech in the Sportpalast before delegates of the shop councils, V.B., 
April 10, 1933. 


regiment the working masses. 

Elaborate plans were made with the meticulous care which was 
typical of the organizational activities of the party. Thousands of 
political prisoners were released in an amnesty, as a gesture of recon- 
ciliation. May i was proclaimed a national holiday, with wages to 
be paid by the employers. In every town and village in the Reich, 
all the arts of persuasion and coercion were utilized to induce all 
organized wage-earners to participate in the festivities. The result 
exceeded all expectations. For the first time in years there were no 
riots, no clashes between workers and police, no demonstrations 
against the government. On the contrary, the leaders of the General 
Federation of Labour supported the pageant and co-operated in 
making it a success. On the ist of May the new flags flew everywhere, 
and great banners proclaimed the dignity of labour and the solidarity 
of the new regime with the working masses. Bands played, paraders 
marched, spectators cheered, vast proletarian multitudes listened 
docilely or enthusiastically to Nazi speeches. 

The demonstration in Berlin was on so grandiose a scale that it 
exhausted all superlatives. It was accurately described as the most 
gigantic mass gathering ever staged in the modern world. Religious 
services were held in all churches on the preceding evening. In the 
morning a great assembly of youth came together in the Lustgartcn. 
Goebbels proclaimed the end of class warfare: "Over the ruins of the 
liberal capitalistic State the idea of the social solidarity of the people 
raises itself." Hindenburg greeted the youth and led the cheering: 
"Germany, our beloved Fatherland, hurrah!" All day long, in the 
spring sunshine, contingents of paraders gathered in various parts 
of the capital and converged in enormous columns toward Tempel- 
hofer Feld. Every trade, every craft, every factory was represented, 
as well as peasants, frontiersmen, and representatives of "Deutschtum 
im Ausland" all with bands, banners, and colourful local costumes. 
While the Graf Zeppelin circled overhead, followed by dozens of 
planes, a million marchers entered the field, where a huge speakers' 
platform had been erected, surmounted by enormous swastika stand- 
ards. Even the sanitary corps was organized to perfection. Strong 
men broke down in tears of joy. Women fainted. Even babies were 
born on the field. But there were no casualties. Planes from all parts 
of Germany brought almost a hundred labour representatives to the 
airdrome, where many other planes were gathered, including the 


enormous 0-2500, recently christened "General Field Marshal von 
Hindenburg." The delegates were welcomed by Goebbels. At 6.30 
they were received in the Chancellery by Hitler and Hindenburg. 
The Chancellor declared: 

"You will see how untrue and unjust is the statement that the 
revolution is directed against the German workers. On the contrary, 
its deepest meaning and clearest aim is to unite our millions of Ger- 
man workers in the German Folk-Community." 

In the evening, on the brightly lighted field, there were parades 
and manoeuvres of Reichswehr, police, S.A., S.S., Stahlhelm, and 
NSBO. The party outdid itself in magnificent pageantry and, at the 
end, amused the masses with the most extraordinary fireworks dis- 
play ever attempted in the Reich. The high point of the program 
was Hitler's speech, delivered on the field and broadcast over all 

"The nation is crumbling to pieces, and in this process of collapse 
all power and all vital energy are disappearing. The results of class 
warfare are to be seen all around us, and we wish to learn a lesson 
from them, for we have recognized one thing as necessary for the 
return to health of our nation: The German people must learn to 
know each other again. . . . What human madness once invented 
can be overcome by human wisdom. . . . We have made up our 
minds to lead the people of Germany to one another and, if necessary, 
to compel them. 

"That is the meaning of the ist of May, which day from now on 
shall be celebrated in Germany throughout the centuries, in order 
that on it all those who are taking part in our creative national work 
may come together and, once in the year, may give each other their 
hands, fully recognizing that nothing can be achieved if all are not 
ready to do their part in the great work. Therefore we have chosen 
as the motto of this day the following sentence: Honour worl^ and 
respect the worker! 

"The ist of May must be the proof that we do not wish to destroy 
anything, but are concerned only with reconstruction. One cannot 
choose the loveliest spring day in the year as a symbol of strife, but 
only as one of constructive work. This day shall not stand for dis- 
integration and collapse, but only for national unity and thus for 
rebirth. . . . 

"Germans! You are not second-rate, even if the world wishes to 


have it so a thousand times. You are not second-class and inferior. 
Awake to a realization of your own importance. Remember your 
past and the achievements of your fathers, yes, and those of your 
own generation. Forget the fourteen years of decay, and think of 
the two thousand years of German history. . . . Germans! You are 
a strong nation, if you yourselves wish to be strong." l 

On the following morning, Tuesday, May 2, 1933, the ax fell on 
the German trade unions. 2 Secret preparations for destroying the old 
German labour movement had been made long before. Hitler had 
resolved that the work of liquidation should follow soon upon May 
Day. Goebbels apparently knew on Monday evening what was to 
be done on the next day. 3 The actual initiative on Tuesday morning, 
however, seems to have been taken, without superior authorization, 
by the vain and ambitious Robert Ley, leader of the NSBO. "Action 
committees" of his organization, without police or S .A. co-operation, 
seized control of all the headquarters of the Social Democratic trade 
unions throughout the Reich, suppressed their newspapers, arrested 
their leaders, took possession of their funds, and decreed their disso- 
lution all without even a shadow of resistance. There was some 
violence (almost a year later the bodies of four trade-union officials 
of Duisberg were discovered in a lonely forest), but in general there 
was little disorder. The Catholic unions and other employees' or- 
ganizations "placed themselves at the disposal" of the NSDAP on 
May 3 and 4. Theodore Leipart and Peter Grassmann, the chairmen 
of the General Trade-union Federation, had pledged themselves to 
co-operate with the new regime. They were arrested. Ley announced 
triumphantly, in the name of a "Committee for the Protection of 
German Labour": 

"We have never destroyed anything which had any kind of value 
for our nation, nor shall we in the future. This is a fundamental 
principle of Nationalsocialism. This holds good particularly of the 
trade unions, which have been built up out of the pennies which 
the workers have earned with such bitter toil and starved themselves 
to give. No, workers, your institutions are sacred and inviolable to 
us Nationalsocialists. I myself am the son of a poor peasant, and I 

1 Pollock and Heneman, op. cit., pp. 73-4. 

2 Cf. Oskar Kruegcr: Die Bejreiung des deutschen Ar belters Die rcvolntiondre Action 
der NSBO gegen Gewer^chaften am 2. Mai 1933 (Munich: Ehcr; 1934). 

3 Vom Kaiser ho j zur Rcichsfanzlci, p. 307. 


know poverty: I myself was for seven years in one of the largest 
factories in Germany. . . , 

"The NSBO journal, Arbeitertum, which deals with the theory 
and practice of the NSBO, becomes from today the official organ 
of the German General Trade-union Federation. . . . 

"It is better that we should give Marxism a last shot to finish it 
off than that we should ever allow it to rise again. The Leiparts and 
the Grassmanns may hypocritically declare their devotion to Hitler 
as much as they like but it is better that they should be in prison. 
Thereby we deprive the Marxist ruffians of their chief weapon and 
of the last possibility of strengthening themselves afresh. The dia- 
bolical doctrine of Marxism must perish miserably on the battlefield 
of the Nationalsocialist revolution." 1 

The work of destruction and "reorganization" was soon com- 
pleted. The funds of the Socialist Party in Lobe's bank account in 
Munich were seized. Most of the union leaders were prosecuted for 
corruption and embezzlement. All properties, including newspaper 
plants, of the Socialist Party, of the Reichsbanner, of the labour 
banks, and of all subsidiary labour organizations were confiscated 
on May 10 to meet the "claims" of the unions. The German worker 
was thus "rescued" from his betrayers. On May 12 all the property 
of the unions and of the Consumers' Co-operative Societies was 
confiscated by Dr. Ley. On May 27 all properties of the KPD and its 
subsidiary organizations were confiscated by decree of the Cabinet. 
Meanwhile the "German Labour Front" was born. The organization 
meeting was held in Berlin on May 10. Hitler spoke: 

"We do not regard any one class as being of paramount impor- 
tance, such distinctions disappear during the course of centuries, 
they come and go. What remains is the substance, a substance of 
flesh and blood, our nation. That is what is permanent and to that 
alone should we feel ourselves responsible. . . . For fourteen or 
fifteen years I have continuously proclaimed to the German nation 
that I regard it as my task before posterity to destroy Marxism, and 
that is no empty phrase, but a solemn oath which I shall perform 
as long as I live. . . . Bismarck told us that liberalism was the pace- 
maker of Social Democracy. I need not say here that Social Democ- 
racy is the pace-maker of Communism. And Communism is the 
forerunner of death, of national destruction and extinction. We have 

1 Manifesto of May 2, 1933. 


joined battle with it and shall fight it to the death. . . . We are 
taking the unions over ... to save for the German working man 
all that he had put by in these organizations in the way of savings 
and furthermore, in order that the German worker might co-operate 
in the building of the new State, to enable him to do this on the 
basis of equality. We are not erecting a State against him; no, with 
him must the new State be built up. 

"He must not have the feeling that he is something inferior and 
to be despised. No, on the contrary! We want to fill him from the 
very beginning, already in the earliest stages, with the feeling that 
he is a German with the same rights as any other. And in my eyes, 
equal rights have never been anything else than the cheerful under- 
taking of equal duties. One must not be always speaking of rights, 
but one must also specif of duties. The German worker must show 
the others that he no longer stands outside the German nation and 
its rebirth." x 

The German Labour Front, under the leadership of Dr. Ley (his 
paper, Der Deutsche, became its organ), was so devised as to parallel 
the structure of the NSDAP itself. It is not, however, an organiza- 
tion of workers, and still less a trade union. Membership is open to 
corporate entities as well as to individual Aryan workers who pay 
about one and a half per cent of their monthly wages as dues. As in 
other Nazi organizations, there is no public control over the use 
of funds, no accounting for disbursements, no election of officers, 
and no discussion of policies. The groups comprising the Labour 
Front include the NSBO; NSHAGO (Handels und Gewerbeor- 
ganisation), representing salaried employees and displacing the 
"Fighting Organization of Middle-class Trade and Handicraft 
Workers" which was dissolved in July 1933; the Reichsnahr stand or 
Food Estate, representing agriculture; the Reich Culture Chamber; 
the Association of N.S. German Jurists; the thirteen Trustees of 
Labour (Treuhcinder der Arbeit), appointed by the Chancellor, June 
15, 1933, and given arbitrary power to settle labour disputes within 
their geographical areas; the leaders of the twelve groups of the 
Reichstand der Industrie, the new organization of German indus- 
trialists created by the law of February 27, 1934; the Gauleiters of the 
party; and sundry others. On December i, 1933, the Association of 
German Employers (a federation of over three thousand organiza- 

1 Pollock and Hcncman, op. cit., pp. 75-6. 


tions) dissolved itself. Its members joined the Labour Front as a 
"professional group." Capital and labour are here intricately syn- 
thesized into an organization whose function is the inculcation of 
Nationalsocialism and service to the State. The NSBO continues to 
carry on political work and ensures control of the proletariat by the 
NSDAP. Membership in these organizations is practically com- 
pulsory for all wage-earners. 

Trade unionism in the old sense is non-existent in the Third 
Reich. As in Fascist Italy, there are no independent labour organi- 
zations, no collective bargaining, no collective wage agreements, and 
no right to strike. Employers and workers are now united in the 
service of the State. The lion and the lamb lie down together, with 
the lamb inside the lion. Ley, in speaking before representatives of 
office employees in Berlin on May 19, 1933, declared modestly: "We 
have done in a few hours and days what formerly would have taken 
years or decades. Sometimes I fear lest the gods become jealous at 
all the tremendous things now being done by one poor human." 
In an article on "Fundamental Ideas on the Corporate Organization 
and the German Labour Front," Ley asserted that limits must be 
imposed on human greed: 

"Corporate organization will as its first work restore absolute 
leadership to the natural leader of a factory that is, the employer 
and will at the same time place full responsibility on him. The works 
council of a factory is composed of workers, employees, and em- 
ployers. Nevertheless, it will have only a consultative voice. Only 
the employer can decide. Many employers have for years had to call 
for the 'master in the house.' Now they are once again to be the 
'master in the house.' " * 

In November blue uniforms and emblems were provided for all 
members of the Arbeitsfront at their own expense. Ley declared, 
before the Congress of the NSBO and the Labour Front in Munich, 
that "the social question is no question of wage agreements, but a 
problem of education and schooling." 2 A week later a proclamation 
informed all German workers that employers and employees were 
now one. "According to the will of our leader, Adolf Hitler, the 
German Labour Front is not the place where the material ques- 
tions of daily working life are decided. . . . The high aim of the 

1 V.B., June 8, 1933. 

2 Berliner Tageblatt, November 21, 1933. 


Labour Front is the education of all working Germans in National- 
socialism." x 


WITH the only possible threat to the Nazi dictatorship removed by 
the action of May 2, the leaders of the NSDAP next moved to wipe 
out all other political parties and thereby assure themselves of an 
undisputed monopoly of governmental authority. Papen and Hugen- 
berg doubtless had misgivings regarding this possibility when they 
entered into their conspiracy with Hitler against Schleicher. They 
hoped, however, to keep the Nazi minority in the Cabinet under 
their control. The failure of the NSDAP to win a clear electoral 
majority on March 5 was reassuring. The Enabling Act was dis- 
turbing, but it specified that any change of government would render 
it void. Why Hugenberg and the feudal gentlemen of the Herren 
Klub, who never kept their own promises, should have supposed 
that Hitler would keep his is a little difficult to ascertain. But they 
did and thereby placed their necks in the noose. Hitler had been 
outwitted by his reactionary allies in 1923. In 1933 his reactionary 
allies were to be outwitted by Hitler. 

The drama unfolded slowly while the NSDAP seized control of 
the state governments and the police forces through the Reich and 
utilized the S.A. for its own purposes. Secrecy was maintained 
concerning the friction within the Cabinet between the non-Nazi 
members and Hitler, Goring, Frick, and Goebbels, who became 
Minister of Propaganda and People's Enlightenment on March 13. 
Whether the Nationalists agreed with the Chancellor or opposed 
him was immaterial. Their criticisms merely made the task of liqui- 
dation easier and more urgent. On March 10 the Nationalist leader, 
Winterfeldt, wrote a public letter to Hindenburg asking that steps 
be taken to curb rowdyism and restore "law and order." Papen 
remained Federal Commissioner for Prussia, while Goring was 
Prussian Minister of the Interior. The premiership was vacant save 
for the shadowy title still held by Otto Braun. Much would depend 
upon the outcome of the rivalry between Papen and Goring. On 
April 10 came the first suggestion of the dissolution of other parties. 
Dr. Otto Hugo, vice-chairman of the Reichstag, proposed that his 

1 Ibid., November 28, 1933. 


group, the German People's Party, should dissolve and join the 
NSDAP. Whether he acted in response to hints from Nazi leaders 
is unclear. His suggestion was without immediate result. 

On April n Goring was appointed Prussian Premier and Papen 
resigned as Federal Commissioner. Both of them were at the time 
in Rome. They denied that any rift had taken place, as did Hitler 
and Hindenburg. Having no alternative except resignation from 
the government, Papen accepted defeat. The NSDAP now pro- 
ceeded to undermine the Nationalist Party by proceeding against 
the Stahlhelm. Hugenberg's friend and Hindenburg's campaign 
manager, Giinther Gerecke, Minister of Employment, had been 
arrested for embezzlement on March 23. On March 29 the house of 
Ernst Oberfohren, parliamentary leader of the Nationalists, was 
searched by Goring's police, who discovered that he was "plotting" 
against Hugenberg. He was released on condition that he resign. 
Hugenberg acquiesced. He could no more defend embezzlers and 
plotters than he could defend the KPD a month previously. Sporadic 
S.A. action against the Stahlhelm had already taken place in various 
towns. Hitler and Seldte conferred on April 15 on the possibility of 
"co-ordinating" the Stahlhelm with the NSDAP. Hugenberg now 
perceived the direction of Nazi pressure and announced on April 
22 that the Nationalists would not be eliminated from the Cabinet 
and could not be under the terms of the Enabling Act. 

But three days later the east Prussian Landbund asked that Hugen- 
berg be displaced by a Nazi in the Ministries of Economics and 
Food. Whether this meant that the Junkers had decided that the 
Nazis would protect their interests more effectually than the Na- 
tionalists or that they had yielded to Nazi "advice" is unclear. On 
April 26 Duesterberg, who had opposed a fusion of the Stahlhelm 
with the NSDAP, was dismissed by Seldte from the posts which he 
still held. The Stahlhelm was now "co-ordinated." On the 27th Seldte 
formally joined the NSDAP, though it was specified that no other 
members of the Stahlhelm might belong to both organizations. At 
this, Hugenberg conferred hurriedly with Hitler. The Nationalists 
in the Reichstag asked Seldte to resign from the party. Hugenberg 
even hinted at his own resignation in the event of Goring's ap- 
pointing a new Prussian Minister of Agriculture, but the issue was 
once more deferred. 

In view of foreign denunciation of the Nazi regime, coupled with 


widespread apprehensions over German plans for rearmament and 
the "war of liberation," Hitler now decided that it would be expe- 
dient to issue a reassuring peace statement for consumption abroad. 
In order to create the impression that he spoke for a united nation, 
he assembled the Reichstag once more in the Kroll Opera for a 
three-hour session on May 17. There he presented his reply to Roose- 
velt's disarmament plan for the elimination of offensive weapons, 
made public the day before. Goring opened the session. The boxes 
were occupied by the diplomatic corps and by many notables, in- 
cluding the Crown Prince. Hitler, in an S.A. uniform, appeared 
shortly after 3.00 p.m. Amid faint denunciations of Versailles and 
reparations, he pleaded for peace and conciliation: 

"No new European war would be able to place us or any other 
nation in a better situation, and it is the most ardent wish of the 
national government to prevent such an unpeaceful development. 
Even a decisive victory would only sow the germs of new conflicts 
and new wars. If such folly ever happened, it would be the ruination 
of the social order, endless chaos Bolshevism. ... 

"In the course of the struggle of recent years against Communism, 
our storm troops have had 350 dead and 40,000 wounded. If today 
at Geneva these formations are counted as military units, then fire- 
men, athletic clubs, and associations of night watchmen might as 
well be considered military. . . . Germany has disarmed. It has 
fulfilled the Treaty of Versailles beyond the limits of justice and 
reason. . . . The only nation that can fear invasion is the German 
nation. . . . 

"Germany is prepared to dissolve its entire military organization, 
together with its supply of arms, without qualification, if the other 
countries signatories to the Treaty of Versailles are prepared to 
do likewise. If these countries are not willing to carry out the dis- 
armament requirements of the Treaty, then Germany must insist 
at least on equality. . . ." * 

The Chancellor further declared the willingness of his government 
to accept a five-year transitional period, to renounce all offensive 
weapons, to submit to international control of armaments, and to 
sign non-aggression pacts always on condition of reciprocity and 
equality. At the close of his address the following resolution was 

1 New York Herald (Paris), May 18, 1933. 


"The German Reichstag, as the representative of the German 
people, approves the declaration of the government and supports it 
on the decisive question in the life of the nation concerning the 
equality of rights of the German people." 

The resolution was unanimously approved by acclamation. In this 
action those Social Democratic deputies who were neither in jail 
nor in exile voted "confidence" in the Hitler Cabinet, without a dis- 
senting voice. A week before, all the property of the party had been 
confiscated. Two weeks before, the Socialist trade unions had been 
smashed. But apparently no humiliation was too great for the 
Socialist deputies, if they could only somehow retain a few jobs and 
preserve in some fashion the party organization which gave them 
a livelihood. They explained that after all they did approve that 
version of his foreign policy which Hitler had presented. Who could 
not? Otto Wels had resigned from the Second International on 
March 30 because it had criticized Hitler. On June 15 the party 
leaders repudiated their comrades abroad, and particularly the emigre 
party group* in Prague, which was safely denouncing Hitler from a 
distance. But fawning and equivocation were fruitless. Hitler smiled 
at the thought. . . . 

On May 18, over Socialist protests, the Prussian Landtag passed 
an Enabling Act transferring its legislative power to the Cabinet 
until April i, 1937. The Nazi deputies demanded jobs for a hundred 
thousand unemployed party members before mid-July. Goring was 
inaugurated as Premier of Prussia on May 20. This enhancement of 
Nazi power stirred new apprehensions among the Nationalists. 
Winterfeldt opined that the boycott of the Jewish shops had hurt 
Germany more than the Jews. Various Hugenberg papers were now 
suppressed. A number of Stahlhelm leaders were arrested. Sundry 
Nationalist organizations and meetings were banned. On June 14 
the police of Dortmund prohibited the Deutschnational Kampf- 
ring, a Nationalist military organization headed by Herbert von 
Bismarck and having perhaps ten thousand members throughout 
the Reich. The Kampfring was accused of harbouring Socialists 
and Communists among its members. The action of its leaders in 
excluding former Marxists was of no avail. Many local Stahlhelm 
groups were now dissolved. On the 20th a Nationalist meeting in 
Frankfurt-on-the-Oder, in celebration of Hugenberg's birthday, was 
disbanded by the police. When street fighting followed, the local 


Kampfring was dissolved. Hugenberg pleaded in vain for mercy. 
Having no means at his disposal for resisting Der Fiihrer, whom he 
had helped to elevate to the chancellorship, he was helpless. 

The work of liquidation now moved forward rapidly. On June 21, 
1933, the entire Kampfring was dissolved by action of the Cabinet. 
Whether the non-Nazi members offered objection made no differ- 
ence. The weapons of power were in the hands of the NSDAP. The 
Stahlhelm was dissolved in the Rhineland, and elsewhere was com- 
pletely gleichgeschaltet ("co-ordinated"), with its members forbid- 
den to belong to any party other than the NSDAP. Hitler and 
Hugenberg conferred about the London Economic Conference, 
where on June 16 Hugenberg had been so indiscreet as to demand 
a restoration of the German colonies and a grant of authority to 
Germany by the Powers to use its "constructive and creative genius" 
to "reorganize" Russia. Litvinov observed : "It may be that the authors 
of Hugenberg's memorandum hoped to introduce an element of 
comedy into the heavy atmosphere created at the conference by the 
serious problems being dealt with." The bewhiskered Nationalist 
perhaps hoped that this gesture would please Hitler and Rosenberg, 
with their dreams of conquest in the east. But again he miscalcu- 
lated. The German delegation in London repudiated his statement. 
On his hasty return to Berlin he received no comfort from the Chan- 
cellor. His threat to resign produced no change in Hitler's plans. 

On June 22 a Cabinet decree dissolved the Social Democratic 
Party. It was accused of high treason by Minister Frick, who issued 
the order: "The SPD must be considered as subversive and inimical 
to the State and people and thus can claim no other treatment than 
that accorded to the Communist Party." Socialist leaders in Berlin, 
headed by Lobe, were accused of maintaining contacts with the 
emigres in Paris and Prague, where the Vorwdrts was being pub- 
lished by Otto Wels, though they had expressly repudiated these 
groups. All Socialist propaganda and all public or private gatherings 
of Socialists were forbidden. All civil servants were required to sever 
connections with the party. All Socialist mandates in the Reichstag, 
the Diets, and provincial and municipal councils were annulled. 
Simultaneously Ley ordered the seizure of all the offices still occupied 
by the Catholic unions and expelled their leaders from the Arbeits- 
front. On the 23rd Paul Lobe and other Socialist leaders were ar- 
rested. No resistance was encountered anywhere. In some localities 


the Socialist Party functionaries even assisted the police in liquidating 
the organization and in listing its confiscated property. Thus perished 
ignominiously the oldest, largest, and best-organized Socialist Party 
of the world. 

Hugenberg knew that the Nationalists were next. He apparently 
suggested his resignation to Hindenburg on June 24 and declared 
that it would void the Enabling Act, since it would change the com- 
position of the government. The President deferred a decision. On 
the 26th the leaders and deputies of the Bavarian People's Party in 
the Reichstag and Diets were arrested. Hugenberg was scheduled 
to speak at a Nationalist meeting in the Kroll Opera. The meeting 
was prohibited by the police. Hitler went to Neudeck to report to 
the President. That Hindenburg opposed the dissolution of the 
party of the Junkers and reactionaries who had elevated him to the 
presidency in 1925 is more than probable. 

On the 29th, however, Hugenberg's resignation was formally ac- 
cepted, after considerable confusion as to his status. He had tendered 
it on the 2yth as his final reply to Hitler's demand for the dissolution 
of his party. His aides had at once "voluntarily" dissolved the Na- 
tionalist Party and the "German National Front." On the 28th, a 
day of national mourning to commemorate the signature of the 
Treaty of Versailles, the State Party pathetic remnant of German 
democracy also dissolved itself voluntarily under Nazi pressure. 
Its liquidation began on the 29th. Goebbels predicted the end of the 
Centrum in an address in Stuttgart. He offered advice to its leaders: 
"Close up your shop, for there are no more customers coming your 
way." On June 29 the former Socialist Chancellor Gustav Bauer was 
arrested in Berlin in a spectacular police raid and charged with em- 
bezzlement. At the same time the question of Hugenberg's successor 
was resolved. Four officials in the economic division of the NSDAP 
were sent to a concentration camp for "conspiracy" to make Otto 
Wagener the heir of Hugenberg in the Ministry of Economics. This 
post was awarded to a conservative non-party business man, Dr. 
Kurt Schmitt, general director since 1921 of Germany's largest insur- 
ance company, the Allianz-Versicherungs A.G.; president since 1932 
of the Federation of German Private Insurance Companies; vice- 
president of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and a 
member of the Central Committee of the Reichsbank. Premier 
Goring simultaneously appointed him Prussian Minister of Eco- 


nomics and Labour. Two sops were thrown to the Nazi radicals who 
were disgusted with this choice. Walter Darre was named Reich 
Minister of Food and Agriculture and Prussian Minister of Agricul- 
ture, Lands, and Forests. Gottfried Feder became Under-Secretary 
of the Reichswirtschaftsministerium through the ousting of the 
Nationalist Dr. Bang. 

These developments completely altered the composition of the 
Cabinet. On January 30, there were three Nazis to nine non-Nazis 
among the Ministers. The addition of Goebbels made four, Seldte 
five, Darre six, Schmitt (who presently joined the NSDAP) seven, 
and Hitler's adjutant, Rudolf Hess, who began to sit informally in 
Cabinet meetings on June 29, made eight Nazis. The conversion of 
Seldte to the party and the ousting of Gerecke reduced the non-Nazis 
to seven, and the resignation of Hugenberg left only six (Papen, 
Neurath, Blomberg, Krosigk, Giirtner, and Eltz-Rtibenach). The 
NSDAP now possessed a clear majority of the posts. The coalition 
of January 30 was demolished. Hugenberg was gone. Papen, the 
other prime mover in this too clever intrigue, remained. Hindenburg 
and Hitler, without intending irony, praised Hugenberg's "patri- 
otic" work for the Fatherland. The Nationalist deputies in the 
Reichstag became "guests" of the NSDAP. To prevent a rush of 
newcomers into the ranks of the party, the Munich headquarters 
decreed a two-year probationary period for all new applicants, retro- 
active to January 30, while Hess urged simplicity and frugality on 
all party members. 

Nothing now remained of the old party system save the Centrum 
and a few scattered splinters. While Papen in Rome negotiated with 
the Vatican for a Reich Concordat to replace the separate agree- 
ments with Prussia, Baden, and Bavaria, Nazi pressure was brought 
to bear on the Centrum. Briining struggled hopelessly to preserve 
his party from destruction. On July I Goring suppressed all non- 
religious Catholic organizations in Prussia and confiscated their 
property: the Windhorst Union, the Catholic Peace League, the 
Young Men's Catholic Association, etc. On July 3 the Concordat 
was signed in Rome. The Vatican acquiesced in the suppression of 
the Centrum. The Holy See had made its peace with Mussolini 
under not dissimilar circumstances and had not regretted its decision. 
This victory restored some of Papen' s waning prestige and deprived 


Briining of his last hope. On July 4 the dissolution of the Centrum 
and of the Bavarian People's Party was announced by their leaders. 
Their deputies were also invited to become "guests" of the NSDAP. 
Dingledey, for the German People's Party, and Arthur Mahraun, 
for the Jung Deutsche Orden, announced that their groups would 
also dissolve. On the 5th the dissolution of the Centrum was com- 

Darre and Schmitt took their oaths of office on July 7. On the 
same day the 121 Socialist Party seats and the 5 State Party seats in 
the Reichstag were abolished by decree. Briining became an outcast 
in his own land, pursued from abode to abode by the secret police 
and threatened with imprisonment in a concentration camp. The 
erstwhile Chancellor who had paved the way for dictatorship by so 
blithely invoking Article 48 of the Constitution, and who had failed 
to crush the NSDAP when it might still have been crushed, was 
now a lonely prisoner on parole, in fear of his liberty if not of his 
life. In his obscurity he doubtless derived some comfort from the 
reflection that Schleicher, who had driven him from the chancellor- 
ship, was reduced to comparable insignificance, and that Papen and 
the gentlemen of the Herren Klub were helpless in Hitler's grasp. 

The work of liquidation was completed by the Cabinet decrees 
of July 14, 1933: 

"The NSDAP is the only political party in Germany. Whoever 
undertakes to maintain the organization of another political party, 
or to form a new political party, is to be punished with imprisonment 
in a penitentiary up to three years or with confinement in a jail 
from six months to three years, unless the act is punishable by a 
higher penalty under other provisions. 

"The provisions of the law of May 26, 1933, concerning the con- 
fiscation of Communist property, are to be applied to the property 
and rights of the German Social Democratic Party and its auxiliary 
and collateral organizations, as well as to property and rights which 
are used or are intended to further Marxist or other movements 
which, according to determination by the Minister of the Interior, 
are hostile to the people and the State. 

"The national Cabinet, by means of a referendum, may question 
the people as to whether or not it approves of a measure planned by 
the national Cabinet. ... A referendum is decided by a majority 


of the valid votes cast. This also applies to a vote on a law containing 
provisions which would amend the Constitution." * 

Thus all parties other than the NSDAP were destroyed and the 
organization of new parties was forbidden. The Stahlhelm, though 
"co-ordinated/* retained its separate existence. The remaining mon- 
archist organizations were dissolved on February i, I934. 2 All legis- 
lative as well as executive authority would be exercised by the 
Cabinet, in consultation, not with the Reichstag, but, at its discretion, 
with the electorate through popular referenda. And the Cabinet was 
in the control of the party of the dictatorship, possessing, like the 
Fascist Party in Italy and the Communist Party in the U.S.S.R., a 
"monopoly of legality." What this party had by this time become 
and what the orientation of its leadership was may be appropriately 
considered after a brief survey of the other steps toward the complete 
unification, in Nazi hands, of the whole German national com- 


THE measures of the Hitler government which have thus far been 
considered were negative in character. They destroyed the trade 
unions, the political parties, and other agencies and institutions in- 
herited from the regime of Weimar. They were paralleled by other 
positive measures designed to facilitate the complete control of Ger- 
man public life by the NSDAP. These measures were for the most 
part enacted and administered in the name of Gleichschaltung or 
"coordination." They affected practically every organized activity 
of the citizens of the Reich in all walks of life, for the NSDAP en- 
forced "the primacy of politics" with a vengeance. Many phases of 
this process will be dealt with in the following chapters. For the 
moment it will suffice to review the process up to the spring of 1934, 
as it affected the formal structure of "government" in the limited 
sense still familiar in the West. 3 
The final abolition of German federalism may first be considered. 

1 Rcichsgesetzblatt (R.G.B.), 1933, Vol. I, No. 81, p. 479. 

2 V.B., February 2, 1934. 

3 Perhaps the most useful and accurate brief presentation in English of these and re- 
lated developments is to be found in Mildred Wertheimer's "The Nazi Revolution in 
Germany," in R. L. Bucll (cd.): New Government in Europe (New York: Nelson; 

P 126-260. 


The Gleichschaltung of the Lander was accompanied by the destruc- 
tion of all remnants of local autonomy and democracy in all the 
political subdivisions of the Reich. This process was initiated in 
Prussia by Chancellor von Papen on July 20, 1932. It was greatly 
accelerated after March 5, 1933. On March 31 a "Provisional Law for 
the Unification of the States with the Reich" was enacted, 1 It em- 
powered the state Cabinets to assume legislative authority and to 
ignore the state Constitutions. Treaties between states would no 
longer require legislative approval. The state legislatures, with the 
exception of the Prussian Landtag elected on March 5, were dis- 
solved and reconstituted without new elections on the basis of the 
number of votes obtained within the states by each party in the 
Reichstag election of March 5. The seats of the KPD and its "ap- 
pendages'* were not apportioned. The size of the state legislatures 
was reduced. The seats were allotted on the basis of electoral lists 
filed by the parties before April 13, 1933 again with the Communist 
Party excluded. All the new legislatures were given terms of four 
years from March 5. "Earlier dissolution is not permissible," but "a 
dissolution of the Reichstag also causes the dissolution of the legis- 
lative bodies of the states" (Sections 8 and n). All local law-making 
bodies were also dissolved and reconstituted in the same way. 

A week later the Cabinet enacted a second unification law. This 
specified that in each of the states except Prussia the Reich President, 
on the nomination of the Reichskanzler, would appoint a Reichs- 
statthalter (Federal Governor or Regent) with power to appoint and 
remove the members of the state Cabinets, to dissolve the legislature 
and decree new elections, to prepare and publish state laws, to exercise 
the pardoning power, and "upon the proposal of the state Cabinet" 
to appoint and dismiss higher state officials and judges. The Statt- 
halter, moreover, might preside over the sessions of the State Cabinet, 
but he could not be a member. For groups of smaller states with less 
than two million inhabitants apiece, a common Statthalter might 
be named. The Statthalters must be citizens of their states, but would 

1 R.G.B., 1933, Vol. i, No. 29, p. 153. For English translations of the texts of this 
and other decrees see J. K. Pollock and H. J. Heneman, The Hitler Decrees. Cf. also 
Mildred Werthcimer: "The Political Structure of the Third Reich" (Foreign Policy 
Association Reports, X, No. 8, June 20, 1934). Cf., for German texts, Werner Hoche: 
Die Gesetzgebting des Kabinetts Hitler (Berlin: Vahlen Verlag; 1933) and Georg 
Kaisenberg: "Gleichschaltung der Lander mit dem Reich'' Das Recht der nationalcn 
Revolution (Berlin: Hcymanns; 1933). 


be paid by the Reich and be subject to recall by the President on the 
proposal of the Reichskanzler. "Votes of no confidence by the state 
legislature against the head and members of the state Cabinet are 
not permissible." In Prussia the Reichskanzler would exercise the 
powers of Statthalter. 1 

Supplementary laws and decrees of April 25, May 26, June i and 
18, and October 14, 1933 provided that the Chancellor might transfer 
his powers in Prussia to the Premier; that the Statthalters might 
transfer their powers to the state governments; and that they should 
receive official residences in designated cities, allowances for official 
expenses, and salaries comparable to those of members of the Reich 
Cabinet. The Chancellor's right of "recall" was interpreted to mean 
"removal." Hitler appointed Goring Premier of Prussia on April 
n, 1933 and entrusted him with his powers as Statthalter. The other 
Statthalters appointed by Hitler, as of June 1933, were as follows: 2 

Bavaria: Franz Ritter von Epp, General 
Wiirttemberg: Wilhelm Murr, business man 
Saxony: Martin Mutschmann, industrialist 
Baden: Robert Wagner, army officer 
Hesse-Nassau: Jacob Sprenger, postal official 
Thuringia: Fritz Sauckel, sea-captain and official 
Oldenburg and Bremen: Karl Rover, colonialist and official 
Braunschweig and Anhalt: Wilhelm Loeper, army officer 
Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and 

Lubeck: Friedrich Hildebrandt, farmer 
Hamburg: Karl Kaufman, farmer, soldier, worker 
Lippe and Schaumberg-Lippe: Alfred Meyer, army officer and jurist 

All the Statthalters were members of the NSDAP, and all save 
Sauckel and Meyer were members of the Reichstag. Each one was 
given the powers of a dictator within his state, including the right 
to call out the Reichswehr to preserve public order. Each possesses 
legislative as well as executive power and dominates the state govern- 
ment as completely as Der Fiihrer dominates the Reich government. 
The Statthalters, however, are completely answerable to the Chan- 
cellor and serve less as liaison officers between the states and the 
central government than as agents of the central government to 

i R.G.B., 1933, Vol I, No. 33 (April 7), P. 173- 
*Nationalsozialistisches ]ahrbuch, 1934, pp. 117-18. 


control the states as administrative subdivisions of the Reich. State 
sovereignty and state autonomy therewith disappeared and Germany 
became for all practical purposes a rigidly unified and highly central- 
ized State, autocratically administered as to local government by the 
arbitrary satraps of an arbitrary national despot in Berlin. 

The subsequent developments in the Gleichschaltung of the states 
can be suggested by an examination of the course of events in Prussia, 
since the sequence here was followed, with minor local variations, 
in the smaller Lander. Premier Goring inaugurated the Prussian 
"reforms," which elsewhere were executed by the Statthalters. On 
July 10, 1933, the Prussian Cabinet, under his direction, enacted a 
law abolishing the old Council of State, the upper house of the 
Prussian legislature, which was elected by the provincial councils 
and had a suspensory veto in law-making. A new Staatsrat or Council 
of State was established to "advise" the Ministers. This body would 
be composed of "Prussian State Councillors" and would consist of 
not more than fifty persons appointed by the Premier, in addition to 
the Ministers and Premier as ex-officio members. The Councillors 
must be German citizens of Prussian domicile, at least twenty-five 
years old. They would be chosen from three groups: secretaries of 
state; the chiefs of the S.A. and S.S., the staff leaders of the PO, the 
Prussian Gauleiters of the NSDAP, and other party officials; and 
representatives of capital, labour, art, science, religion, and others 
deserving recognition for public service. Members of the third group 
would be appointed for life, and of the first two for the duration of 
their existing offices. All members were subject to removal by the 
Premier, who would preside over the Staatsrat. 

"The Councillors express their opinions on proposals which come 
before the Council of State. Important laws shall be laid before the 
Council of State before their promulgation. If a Councillor of State 
decides that discussion of such a matter is desirable, he advises the 
Premier of this, with a declaration of his reasons; the Premier has 
the final decision whether the suggestion is to be complied with. 
The Council of State does not vote. The meetings of the Council 
of State are not published. The Chancellor may demand the sum- 
moning of the Council of State. He may appear before the Council 
at any time and be heard." * 

On July 20 this law was supplemented by two others. One sought 

* Prcussische Gcsetzsammlung (P.G.5.) 1933, No. 46, p. 241, Sections 10-12. 


to put an end to the confusion and rivalries which had developed 
within the Prussian Cabinet by giving the Premier authority to 
regulate and define the departmental competence of the Ministers 
and by requiring consultation among the Ministers. 1 The other fixed 
the "allowance" of Councillors at one thousand marks per month, 
save for those residing in Berlin or Potsdam, who were to get five 
hundred marks. 2 The Councillors would continue to receive their 
regular salaries for other posts. A third law of August 7 amended 
the original act by omitting the limitation of its size to fifty members 
and by dropping secretaries of state as a group from which members 
might be chosen. 3 

These innovations of Premier Goring had several purposes. 
They were designed to give him patronage for distribution among 
deserving political friends and supporters. Goring's own power and 
his personal position in the government and in the NSDAP would 
thus be strengthened. The new Council, moreover, would be a 
highly dignified body which would lend prestige to Prussia and 
make less likely any abolition of Prussia as a separate political entity 
in the future reorganization of the Reich. Goring was not animated 
by particularistic loyalty to Prussia, since he was a Bavarian. But 
the Prussian state government was the basis of his own political 
influence. From a constitutional point of view the new Council was 
to be merely an ornament to a completely dictatorial regime. It could 
neither legislate nor vote, but merely "advise" in secret. The old 
lower house of the Prussian legislature had already surrendered its 
law-making authority on May 18. In Prussia, as in all the states 
and in the Reich, the executive would legislate as well as administer. 
And the executive would be controlled by leaders of the NSDAP 
sworn to blind obedience to Der Fiihrer. 

Goring appointed fifty-six members to the new Staatsrat. They 
included Ernst Rohm, commander of the S.A.; Karl Ernst, dashing 
young leader of the Berlin-Brandenburg storm troopers; Heinrich 
Himmler, commander of the S.S.; Fritz Thyssen; Dr. Ludwig 
Miiller, the new Nazi Bishop of the Evangelical Church; Prince 
August Wilhelm; Wilhelm Furtwangler, the music director; Field 
Marshal August von Mackensen; Captain von Jagow, U-boat officer; 

1 Ibid., No. 49, p. 258. 

2 Ibid., No. 49, p. 265. 

3 Ibid., No. 52, p. 289. 


General Litzmann; Admiral von Trotha; and many other notables. 
Here was represented the new political elite of the NSDAP, the old 
military elite of the war, and the elites of business, art, and religion. 
On September 15 the Staatsrat assembled in the University of Berlin, 
amid a great fanfare of trumpets and drums. What "advisory" func- 
tions it performed, then or later, has never been revealed. A double 
line of storm troops stood at attention along the entire length of 
Unter den Linden. S.A. men in brown steel helmets and S.S. men 
with rifles and black steel helmets paraded. Police and Reichswehr 
co-operated in giving the ceremonies an exclusively military char- 
acter. Goring's address was broadcast: 

"In the old parliament Authority and Responsibility were in re- 
verse order. Responsibility went from top to bottom, and Authority 
went from bottom to top. That was a sin against natural law. . . . 
Here, however, the old principle holds good: Authority goes from 
top to bottom, but Responsibility always from bottom to top. Each 
is responsible to him who is called to stand next above him. Der 
Fiihrer carries the final Responsibility and he carries it before his 
God and his people. . . . What Der Fiihrer wants will be done. 
His will is law for us. ... The goal is: Germany, and again Ger- 
many, and always Germany! And so has Prussia its mission. . . . 
The Prussian Staatsrat is opened, and it is opened with the cry: 
To our leader, Adolf Hitler, the German Reichs^anzler, a triple 
victory-cheer!" 1 

District, local, and municipal government throughout the Reich 
was subjected to a similar transformation. In Prussia, by a law of 
July 20, I933, 2 the twelve provincial Councils were changed from 
elected legislative bodies to appointive and honorary advisory bodies 
chosen by the Prussian Premier. The provincial Oberprasidenten 
and the district Regierungsprasidenten were thus given a monopoly 
of all executive, administrative, and legislative power in local gov- 
ernment. For the city of Berlin a commissioner was appointed by 
the Prussian Minister of the Interior (Goring), with powers of 
advice and supervision over the Mayor and the City Council. 3 In 
September the Berlin municipal council and the district councils 

1 Berliner Tagcblatt, September 15, 1933. 

2 P.G.S., 1933. No. 49, p. 254. 

3 Ibid., No. 37 (June 2), p. 196; cf. ibid., No. 78 (December 18, 1933), p. 427; ibid., 
1934, No. 29 (June 30), p. 319. 


were deprived of their authority, which was transferred to the mu- 
nicipal committee and the district boards that is, to executive and 
administrative agencies. 1 All Prussian mayors were appointed by the 
Minister of the Interior. Municipal elections were abolished. Every- 
where throughout the Reich local legislative bodies lost their powers 
and disappeared. By autumn the only elective legislature remaining 
in all Germany was the Reichstag which had surrendered all its 
legislative powers and was "elective" only in a purely formal sense. 
Parliamentarianism and local self-government were by a few strokes 
of the pen completely blotted out. 

Meanwhile the magnificently organized German civil service was 
likewise " gleichgeschaltet" though with a minimum of disturbance 
to its organization and personnel. One of the earliest steps of the 
new government was to apply Nazi principles to the bureaucracy 
and to ensure its loyalty. The federal law of April 7, 1933 specified 
that various categories of citizens in all public and quasi-public 
employment might be discharged "for the restoration of a national 
civil service and for the simplification of the administration." Officials 
who entered the service after November 9, 1918 without the usual 
training or qualifications were to be discharged without pension 
rights, though with three months' salary after dismissal and with 
the possibility of obtaining an annuity equal to one-third of their 
former salaries. 2 Officials not of "Aryan" descent were to be dis- 
charged. Pension rights would be granted only to those who had 
completed ten years of service. Non-Aryans in service since August 
i, 1914, and those who fought at the front for the Central Powers, 
or who had fathers or sons killed in the war, were exempted from 
discharge (Section 3). 

"Officials who, because of their previous political activity, do not 
offer security that they will exert themselves for the national State 
without reservations may be discharged. For three months after 
dismissal they will be paid their former salary. From this time on 
they receive three-quarters of their pensions and corresponding an- 
nuities for their heirs" (Section 4). 

Any official, at the discretion of the highest national or state au- 
thorities, might be transferred or pensioned without recourse to the 
courts. By a decree of April n, 1933, "a non-Aryan is one who is 

1 Ibid., 1933, No. 61 (September 25), 356. 

2 R.G.B., 1933, Vol. I, No. 34, p. 175, Section 2. 


descended from non-Aryan, particularly Jewish, parents or grand- 
parents. It suffices if either parent or either grandparent is non-Aryan. 
This is especially so if either parent or either grandparent has pro- 
fessed the Jewish religion." * On May 6, judges, policemen, teachers, 
and professors were included within the scope of this legislation, 
but the military forces were exempted. All officials who had ever 
participated in Communist activities, including the Nazi rebel group 
Die Schwarze Front, were to be discharged. Front fighters were de- 
fined as soldiers who had actually faced the enemy in battle. "Par- 
ticipation in the fighting in the Baltic States, in Upper Silesia, against 
Spartacists and Separatists, as well as against the enemies of the 
national revolution, is to be ranked as equal with participation in 
the fighting of the World War." 2 

This legislation was followed by dismissals from all branches of 
the pubic service of Jews, Communists, Socialists, liberals, pacifists, 
and others obnoxious to the NSDAP. But since the groups affected 
constituted only a small percentage of the bureaucracy, which the 
Socialists and Democrats after 1918 had left largely intact in the 
hands of reactionary officials, the volume of displacement was rela- 
tively small. The Nazi leaders were shrewd enough to perceive that 
a wholesale house-cleaning, followed by the introduction of the spoils 
system, would in the long run weaken their hold on the administra- 
tive machine rather than strengthen it. They accordingly preferred 
to weed out racially undesirable or politically unreliable elements, 
without disturbing the fundamentals of structure and personnel 
management which had made the German civil service the most 
efficient administrative machine in the modern world. 

The weeding-out process was largely completed by summer. In 
order to carry it to a conclusion and to prevent the filling of vacant 
posts by incompetent political aspirants, a law of June 30, 1933 speci- 
fied that "only such persons may be appointed as national officials 
who possess the prescribed education or customary training or who 
have special qualifications for the office about to be filled, and who 
guarantee that they will support the national State at all times with- 
out reservation." Women could secure permanent posts only after 
the age of thirty-five. 

"Anyone of non-Aryan descent, or married to a person of non- 

1 Ibid., Vol. I, No. 37, p. 195. 

2 Ibid., Vol. I, No. 48, p. 245. 


Aryan descent, may not be appointed a national official. National 
officials who marry persons of non-Aryan descent are to be dis- 
charged. The question of who is of non-Aryan descent is to be de- 
cided by regulations of the Minister of the Interior. . . . When the 
economic status of a female official appears to be permanently secured 
because of a family income, the officials . . . may decree her dis- 
missal. The conditions for dismissal are always present when the 
husband is a permanent official not subject to dismissal." * 

The same rules were made applicable to employees of state and 
local governments, of the Reichsbank, of the German State Railways, 
and of other quasi-public institutions. The new Aryan clause was 
reinterpreted on August 8, I933, 2 to include illegitimate descent. 
Prospective national officials would be required to submit documen- 
tary proof of the Aryan descent of themselves and their wives. 
Officials desiring to marry were compelled to prove the Aryan de- 
scent of their prospective spouses. "If Aryan descent is doubtful, an 
opinion is to be obtained from the expert for racial investigation ac- 
credited to the Minister of the Interior." 3 In this fashion the "racial 
purity" as well as the political reliability of the civil service of the 
Third Reich was assured. 

Further changes in the governmental structure of Germany were 
introduced after the "election" of November 12, 1933. By the end of 
summer the first tasks of the Fascist revolution had been completed. 
Marxism was destroyed. Trade unionism was smashed. All other 
political parties were outlawed. Federalism, democracy, representa- 
tive government, civil rights, pacifism, internationalism, racial and 
religious toleration, "Jewish intellectualism" all had perished in 
the Nazi flames. Not only had all opposition outside the party been 
destroyed, but the radical "Left opposition" within the ranks was 
silenced as well, at least temporarily. The next step was to paralyse 
all remaining critics and to impress a hostile world by offering visible 
evidence that the dictatorship was not maintained by terror, but 
rested upon the enthusiastic support of the populace. As master 
politicians and political psychologists, the Nazi leaders knew that 
the final steps toward the complete liquidation of the remnants of 
the Weimar regime should be taken after some overwhelming dem- 

1 Ibid., Vol. I, No. 74, p. 433. 

2 Ibid., Vol. I, No. 91, p. 575. 

8 Ibid., Vol. I, No. 85 (July 20), p. 518. 


onstration of public confidence. Here, as always, propaganda was 
preferable to violence because it was more effective. Such a demon- 
stration of confidence, moreover, would presumably strengthen the 
Reich's diplomatic position abroad, where emigres were encouraging 
groundless hope of the early collapse of the Nazi State. 

To what extent Hitler, Goebbels, and their colleagues indulged 
in careful calculations on the basis of these considerations it is 
difficult to ascertain. Perhaps sound political intuition continued to 
serve Der Fiihrer better than sober reason. In any case, the internal 
and external factors in the position of the Nazi regime were com- 
bined with extraordinary skill to produce maximum results at home 
and abroad. How could the largest possible percentage of the elec- 
torate be induced to approve of the dictatorship? Obviously, by 
finding again the lowest possible emotional denominator of the 
masses and by identifying the government with the most basic emo- 
tional responses of the populace. Flattery of collective vanity and de- 
nunciation of national enemies were the techniques which must be 
used. But how ? A new wave of anti-Semitism might serve the pur- 
pose. But since, in official theory, Hitler had already "saved" the 
Reich from the Jews in the spring, this would be difficult to dramatize. 
It would further stir up a new storm of protest abroad which might 
prove embarrassing. The symbols of intense nationalism would be 
more useful. If Hitler acted in a belligerent fashion toward foreign 
"enemies" and at the same time verbally championed "peace," he 
could retain the support of all his followers, win the approval of all 
patriots, and even, as he had learned on May 17, induce the spineless 
Social Democrats to give him their confidence. But Paris, Warsaw, 
Prague, London, and Washington must also be considered. Since 
German rearmament would require several more years of prepara- 
tion, no risks of provoking sanctions or military action against the 
Reich could be taken. The necessary belligerent gesture must be of 
such a character that it would not involve this danger. And yet it 
must be so devised that the accompanying peace propaganda for 
consumption by foreigners and by peace-loving people at home 
would not create any doubts in the hearts of patriots as to the gov- 
ernment's firm determination to restore Germany's might and pro- 
tect Germany's honour. Stated thus in abstract terms, the problem 
seems impossible of solution. But the NSDAP was accustomed to 
achieving the impossible. It did so again in this instance, in a manner 


which must command the admiration of all students of the arts of 
politics and propaganda. 

On October 14, 1933, the master stroke fell like a thunderbolt, leav- 
ing the nation and the world aghast. After a long, secret Cabinet 
session (in which, it may be surmised, Neurath, Krosigk, and pos- 
sibly others were finally converted to the plan worked out by Nazi 
leaders) the government announced the withdrawal of Germany 
from the League of Nations and the Geneva Disarmament Con- 
ference, the dissolution of the Reichstag, a new Reichstag election on 
November 12, and a simultaneous popular referendum on the Cab- 
inet's foreign policy. No hint of such action had previously been 
made. The immediate pretext was the refusal of Sir John Simon, the 
British Foreign Minister, to accept any agreement at Geneva which 
would permit German rearmament. The other Powers were on the 
point of concluding a limited disarmament convention which would 
allow Germany equality of status only after a four-year "trial period." 
For the government at Berlin to have repudiated Geneva earlier 
would have been a political error. For it to wait until the conclusion 
of the impending agreement would have been a psychological mis- 
take. It acted at precisely the correct moment. Proclamations, speeches, 
slogans, and impassioned exhortations began to rain down from 
Wilhelmstrasse like autumn leaves in a storm. A government Mani- 
festo to the nation was issued early on Saturday afternoon, October 

"The German national Cabinet and the German people are united in 
the will to conduct a policy of peace, of reconciliation, and of understand- 
ing as the foundation of all decisions and of all actions. 

"The national Cabinet and the German people, therefore, disavow 
violence as an unsuitable means for settling existing differences with 
the European community of States. 

"The German national Cabinet and the German people renew the 
avowal to accede gladly to every actual disarming of the world, with the 
assurance of the willingness also to destroy the last German machine-gun 
and to discharge the last German soldier from the army, provided the 
other nations decide to do likewise. 

"The German national Cabinet and the German people unite in the 
sincere desire to want to examine and solve without passion, and by 

1 The texts of this and other statements appeared in the Berliner Tagcblatt, V.B., 
New York Times, and most other leading newspapers October 15, ct scq., 1933. 


means of negotiations, all existing questions with other nations, including 
all of our former opponents, in a spirit of overcoming the war psychosis 
and restoring finally a sincere relationship toward each other. 

"The German national Cabinet and the German people therefore de- 
clare themselves willing, at any time, to assure the peace of Europe for 
all time and to serve its economic welfare through the conclusion of 
Continental pacts of non-aggression and participation in general cultural 

"The national Cabinet and the German people are motivated by the 
same conception of honour which demands that the acceptance of equal 
treatment for Germany is the absolutely necessary moral and objective 
condition for every participation of our people and its government in 
international institutions and treaties. 

"The German national Cabinet and the German people are therefore 
united in the decision to leave the Disarmament Conference and to quit 
the League of Nations until this actual equality of rights is no longer 
withheld from our nation. 

"The national Cabinet and the German people have decided rather 
to undergo every difficulty, every persecution, and every distress than to 
subscribe in the future to treaties which for every man of honour and 
for every honourable nation must be unacceptable; and which would, in 
their consequences, lead only to the perpetuation of the unhappiness and 
misery caused by the Versailles Treaty and thereby to the collapse of the 
civilized community of nations. 

"The German national Cabinet and the German people do not have 
the will to participate in any armament race with other nations. They only 
demand that measure of security which guarantees to the nation quiet 
and freedom for peaceful work. The German national Cabinet and the 
German people are determined to make certain, by means of negotiations 
and by treaties, these justifiable demands of the German nation. 

"The national Cabinet puts the question to the German people: 

"Does the German people agree to the policy of its national Cabinet 
here set forth and is it willing to declare the same to be the expression 
of its own opinion and its own will and to support it solemnly?" 

Hitler at the same time issued a manifesto of his own: 

"... As Chancellor of the German people and leader of the Nazi 
movement, I am convincd that the entire nation will back, as one man, 
this resolution, which originates as much from a love of our people and 
esteem of their honour as from the conviction that the definitive peace 
of the world, so necessary to all, can only be achieved if the ideas of victors 
and vanquished are replaced by a belief in equal rights for all." 


The German delegates at Geneva hurriedly left the city. Rumours 
of sanctions, mobilizations, and appeals to the League Council or the 
Permanent Court failed to materialize, as did reports that the Reich 
would denounce the Treaty as a whole. At seven o'clock Saturday 
evening Hitler stepped before the microphone and broadcast an 
address to the nation and the world: 

"Mein deutsches Volf^l When the German people, trusting to the 
assurances given in President Wilson's Fourteen Points, laid down 
their arms in November 1918, an end was made of a fatal warfare for 
which perhaps individual statesmen, but certainly not the people 
themselves, can be held responsible. ... It was the German people 
who suffered the deepest disappointment. . . , 

"The German government is most profoundly convinced that its 
appeal to the whole German nation will prove to the world that the 
government's love of peace, and also its views on the subject of hon- 
our, represent the longing for peace and the code of honour of the 
entire nation. . . . May this great demonstration by our nation in 
favour of peace and honour be successful in providing the internal 
relations of the European States with that prerequisite necessary, not 
only for putting an end to the quarrels and disputes of centuries, but 
also for the building up afresh of a better community of nations; 
namely: The recognition of a higher common duty arising out of 
common equal rights. 9 ' 

The election machinery began to move into action at once. Hin- 
denburg dissolved the Reichstag and decreed new elections for No- 
vember I2. 1 At the same time the President, with the consent of the 
Reichsrat, modified the election decree of March 14, 1924, by provid- 
ing that the "ballots of all accepted district election lists must contain, 
together with the statement of the party, the names of the first ten 
candidates of each list." 2 On October 20, after several changes of 
form, 3 the text of the referendum ballot was announced. It was iden- 
tical with the government Manifesto of October 14. At the end was 
posed the question, in the familiar "Du" form, instead of the formal 
"Sie" : "Do you German man and you German woman agree to this 
policy of your national Cabinet, and are you willing to declare it to 
be the expression of your own opinion and your own will and to 

*R.G.B., 1933, Vol. I, No. 113 (October 14), p. 729. 

2 Ibid., Vol. I, No. 116 (October 19), p. 746. 

3 Ibid., Vol. I, No. 113 (October 14), p. 732, and No. 117 (October 20), p. 747. 


espouse it solemnly?" This was followed, on the green ballot, by 
two squares containing circles and captioned by "]cf 9 and "Nein" 

The white Reichstag ballot contained the single party heading: 
Nationalsocialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (Hitlerbewegung) 
and under it ten names: Hitler, Hess, Frick, Goring, Goebbels, 
Rohm, Darre, Seldte, Papen and, perhaps with intentional humour, 
Hugenberg. To the right of the names was a single circle in a 
rectangle. No provision was made whereby the voter could vote for 
any alternative list or even vote against the list presented. Blank 
ballots were to be held invalid. 1 

The ten names headed a Nazi list of 686 candidates, including the 
Nazis already in the Reichstag, some party members in the state 
Diets, many S.A. leaders, and all the Statthalters, the Gauleiters, and 
the Trustees of Labour. Certain Nationalist and Stahlhelm leaders 
in addition to Seldte and Hugenberg were given places on the list, 
including Dr. Bang and Justizrat Class. Two former deputies of 
the German People's Party were included: the colonial governor 
Schnee and the banker Dr. von Stauss. Dr. Hackelsberger and Count 
von Quadt, representing respectively the Centrum and the Bavarian 
People's Party, also received places. In addition there were a dozen 
industrialists, including Thyssen, Voegler, Springorum, and Dr. 
Grimm (all associated with Thyssen), some thirty bankers, and al- 
most a hundred farmers, including many Junkers. The liberal pro- 
fessions were well represented. There were only twenty-five labourers 
and twenty-five office workers on the list. It was primarily a panel of 
the leading personalities of the NSDAP, with a few non-party mem- 
bers added for good measure. No women were nominated. 

The propaganda machine of the NSDAP began working imme- 
diately at top speed. While figures on campaign expenditures are not 
available, it is probable that more money was spent than in any pre- 
vious electoral contest and this despite the fact that there was here 
no contest at all. Not only were there no opposition candidates, but 
no opposition activity or criticism of any kind was tolerated. The 
whole purpose of the campaign was to inculcate loyalty to the dicta- 
torship and to roll up as large an affirmative vote as possible on No- 
vember 12. "Frieden und Gleichberichtigung" (Peace and Equal 

1 For fascimiles of German ballots and an analysis of election procedure, see J. K. 
Pollock: German Election and Administration (New York: Columbia University 
Press; I934>- 


Rights) was the slogan. Parades, mass meetings, and oratorical fire- 
works were the order of the day during the weeks preceding the 
election. The massed bands, the Bhitfahne, the banners, the passionate 
pleas of the great spellbinders worked their ancient magic. 

Goebbels spoke in the Sportpalast on October 20. The great hall 
was jammed hours before the meeting began. Storm troopers paraded 
in with 165 Nazi flags with two small Stahlhelm banners buried in 
the mass. The Propaganda Minister aroused savage enthusiasm by 
denouncing the Jews, but these passages were deleted in the pub- 
lished versions of the speech. "We have saved Germany and Europe 
from Bolshevism. . . . Peace costs sacrifices, but we are of the opin- 
ion that it costs fewer sacrifices than a war, . . . The others should 
now disarm. . . . We shall endeavour to prevent war with all our 
means. . . . The old Reichstag is only a rump parliament. We want 
to have a new Reichstag. On November 12 the entire nation must 
approve Hitler and his policy. On November 12 no opposition worthy 
of the name can dare to exist. The whole world shall see that on this 
day the whole German people is united." On the 22nd Hitler in 
Kelheim: "We want nothing but our quiet and our peace, in order 
to work, and the world shall know that for this work the entire 
nation stands together." 

At 8.00 p.m., October 24, Hitler appeared in the Sportpalast. Hun- 
dreds had waited in line for seats since early morning. Great placards 
proclaimed: "Hitler's Struggle is a Struggle for True World Peace!" 
"With Hitler for a Peace of Honour and Equality!" "Freedom and 
Bread in Honour and Peace!" "We Will Not be a People of Inferior 
Rights!" Ten great Nazi standards and 284 flags were carried in by 
storm troopers amid a sea of outstretched arms. Hitler was greeted 
wildly as he nodded and smiled along the aisle and accepted bouquets. 
Thousands cheered in sixty overflow meetings throughout Berlin. 
Der Fiihrer, in a light brown uniform, wove his old spell. "Honour 
. . . Freedom . . . Equal Rights. . . . We have the will to peace, 
we see no possibility of conflict. . . . But we will not permit our- 
selves to be treated as inferior, nor will we ever sign anything that 
we dare not sign because it violates our honour. . . . Never will I 
do anything contrary to my honour and the honour of the na- 
tion. . . ." 

No effort was spared to enlist everybody in the cause. On October 
29 hundreds of organizations and associations unitedly pledged their 


support butchers, bakers, candlestick-makers; dentists, doctors, 
teachers, lawyers; farmers, tennis-players, gardeners, Protestants; 
students, Catholics, veterans, poets; bicycle-riders, tobacconists, gym- 
nasts, and others without end. 1 The climax came on Friday, Novem- 
ber 10. Hitler appealed to the worker from the dynamo hall of the 
vast Siemens-Schuckert Electrical Works in Berlin. From a table 
under the glare of calcium lights Der Fiihrer spoke to thousands of 
workers. Goebbels introduced him and over all radios came, as an 
obbligato, the noise of great machines grinding to a halt. At i.oo p.m. 
all over Germany there was a blare of whistles and a clang of bells, 
followed by one minute of silence, an honour hitherto reserved only 
for the war dead. Everywhere wheels stopped. Traffic ceased on all 
streets and roads from Kufstein to Heligoland, from Luxembourg 
to Memel. Passers-by stood still, hats off and hands raised in salute 
to the invisible Leader. He spoke perhaps to the largest audience in 
history. Thirty million workers in silenced factories listened for an 
hour (and worked an hour overtime later, to pay their employer's 
losses). Twenty million more people, in their homes or on the streets 
or in halls and theatres, heard the magic voice: 

"Deutsche Volfegenossen and Volf^sgenossinnen! Meine deut- 
schen Arbeiter! If I speak today to you and to millions of other work- 
ers, I do so with greater right than any other. I have myself come 
from your ranks. I have been among you for four and a half years in 
war, and I speak now to you to whom I belong. ... I lead the strug- 
gle for the million-masses of our brave, industrious workers and our 
labouring people. . . . What is the difference between the theory of 
class war and the theory of international war? It is the same! The 
same nonsense to pretend that one class can profit because another 
class loses. ... I must attempt first of all to give you again bread and 
work. ... I need no title. My name, which I earned by my own 
strength, is my title. . . . Perhaps there are some among you who 
cannot forgive me for destroying the Marxist parties. I say: My friend, 
I have also destroyed the other parties. I have not conquered the 
representatives of the working class, no, I have conquered the repre- 
sentatives of all classes. . . . Our aim is that we shall all think to- 
gether, with common efforts and common work, to create an endur- 
able life for our countrymen, not for a class, but for all. ... To the 
German burgher I must say: Do not think that it is in your interest 
1 Deutsche Allgemcinc Zcitung, October 29, 1933- 


when it goes badly with the worker. On the contrary, the more pur- 
chasing power he has, the better will it be for you. . . . 

"They must not expect from me that I am so senseless as to want 
war. ... I know war. . . . We want peace and understanding, 
nothing else. We want to give our hand to our former enemies! . . . 
They say I do not honestly mean it. I say: What, then, shall I do for 
you to believe us? My countrymen! I believe that in such times one 
must be very hard and before all must not concede a centimetre of his 
rights. . . . Honour means, in this case, equal rights, and equal 
rights mean the possibility of being able to represent one's own in- 
terests too before the others. If the world wishes to dictate, then with- 
out my signature! And if the world says: Yes, we are forced to do so 
because we can't trust you ? How so ? When has the German people 
ever broken its word? It has instead kept its word all too stubbornly 
and faithfully! . . . [No voice whispered: 'Belgium!'] We are not 
to be treated as shoe-shiners, as inferiors. No, either equal rights or 
the world will see us no more at any conference. ... If the whole 
nation does its duty on the i2th of November, then it will be clear 
to the whole world, for the first time perhaps in German history, that 
it must now deal with us otherwise, that it can hope no more from 
our disunity and divisions, that it is confronted with that which is 
the German people!" * 

In a small town in northern Bavaria two factory managers looked 
out of the window during the broadcast and left five minutes before 
its conclusion. They were sent to a concentration camp for disrespect 
to Der Fiihrer. Thinly veiled threats were breathed over the land 
against possible non-voters or "No" voters. After the election Duke 
Philip' Albert of Wiirttemberg was arrested for failing to vote. Many 
others, negligent in their civic duties, were branded as traitors and 
paraded through the streets in disgrace. There was no open pressure 
on voters. Subtler methods sufficed. Repeatedly the government an- 
nounced that the election would be honestly conducted and that the 
secrecy of the ballot would be respected. Few believed these assur- 
ances. If one voted "No" and was discovered, one faced the loss of 
one's job, perhaps the loss of one's liberty, possibly the loss of one's 
life. People under suspicion had a habit of disappearing mysteriously. 
And, after all, who could oppose Peace, Honour, Freedom, Equal 
Rights? It was better to be safe. . . . 

1 Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, November n, 1933. 


On the last night, Saturday evening, November n, Hindenburg 
added his voice to the chorus of Yea-sayers in a broadcast: 

"German men and women! Let me also address to you a word of 
warning in this hour which concerns life questions of the German 
present and future. I and the government, united in the determina- 
tion to lead Germany out of the divisions and the impotence of the 
post-war period, have called upon the German people to decide their 
destiny themselves tomorrow and to announce to the whole world 
whether they support our policy and make it their own. . . . For 
the first time in many years of dissension shall the German people 
go before the world tomorrow in firm unity, one in the announcement 
of its will to peace, one also in its demands for honour, equal rights, 
and the respect of others. ... It is a lie and an insult when they at- 
tribute to us abroad warlike intentions. . . . With our whole hearts 
we want peace, but a peace of honour and equal rights. . . . Loudly 
and emphatically shall all Germans, united in one will, announce 
that Germany in the future may never more be dealt with as a sec- 
ond-class nation. . . . Show tomorrow your firm national unity and 
your solidarity with the government. Support with me and the Reichs- 
kanzler the principle of equal rights and of peace with honour, and 
show the world that we have recovered, and with the help of God 
will maintain, German unity!" * 

Sunday was a bright autumn day. Germans voted everywhere 
in concentration camps, on the high seas, in foreign lands. Hitler 
voted in the Siemens-Stadt, Hindenburg and Goebbels in an old 
Berlin inn where Bismarck once played cards. In the Oranienburg 
concentration camp, 330 out of the 377 persons who voted supported 
the government. In the Dachau camp, near Munich, 2,154 out of 
2,242 expressed their support of the government which had impris- 
oned them. Every voter received, at his polling-place, a small tin 
button marked "]a" in return for a small donation to the winter relief 
fund. Voters who were suspected of disloyalty by their neighbours 
often marked their ballots publicly, so that all should see that they 
too were for Hitler. So great was the rush to the ballot boxes that long 
lines gathered before each polling-place. Late in the afternoon storm 
troopers rounded up negligent voters who had not yet appeared. The 
result was all but unanimous. 

1 Berliner Tagcblatt, November 12, 1933. 



Qualified Voters 45,176,713 

Voted 43,053,616 95.3 per cent 

Deputies Elected 66 1 

Per cent 

NSDAP '. 39,655,212 92.2 

Invalid Ballots (unmarked) 3>398>4O4 7.8 


Qualified Voters 45,176,713 
Voted 43,491,575 96.3 per cent 

Per cent 

"Yes" 40,632,628 95.1 

"No" 2,101,191 4.9 

Invalid 757>756 

This overwhelming result was wholly without parallel in any other 
national election or referendum anywhere in the modern world, 
save in Fascist Italy. It was not achieved by dishonest counting, nor 
yet by open threats or bribery of voters. It surprised only those ob- 
servers who had not preceived the effect of subtle pressure on the 
electorate and those who underestimated the efficacy of Nazi propa- 
ganda. On Monday Hitler thanked his supporters for having jus- 
tified his "faith in the inner worth of the German people." He also 
thanked the party. 

The way was now clear for the completion of the process of govern- 
mental reorganization which had been begun in the spring. All of 
the state legislatures had been dissolved on October 14. No new state 
elections were held. On October 21 the permanent committee of the 
Prussian Landtag was suspended. 2 No new legislatures were to be 
organized. The Diets thus passed quietly out of existence. Amid 
rumours of the complete abolition of the states, the creation of fifteen 
administrative districts, the appointment of an all-Nazi Cabinet, 
and the promulgation of a new Constitution, Hitler remained silent 
as to his plans. On December i Rudolf Hess and Ernst Rohm were 
appointed Cabinet members without portfolio. The Cabinet now 
consisted of six non-Nazis and nine Nazis. At the same time legisla- 

1 Deutschcr Reicftsanzcigcr ttnd Vrcussischcr Anzcigcr, No. 279, November 29, 

2 P.G.S., 1933, No. 66, p. 376. 


tion empowered the authorities to compel certain classes of unem- 
ployed to enter workhouses. Other measures suggested the line which 
the NSDAP would now pursue: Several hundred suspected Marxists 
were arrested; the Prussian secret police was reorganized and pub- 
lished a list of enemies of the State; all bank deposits of the Reichs- 
banner and of German peace societies were confiscated; the oath of 
loyalty administered to members of the Reichswehr was modified 
to eliminate all references to the Constitution and the republic; and, 
perhaps most significant, a new law ensured the "Unity of the Party 
and State": 

"i. After the victory of the Nationalsocialist revolution the NSDAP 
has become the carrier of the German government and is inseparably 
united with the State. It is a corporation of public law. Its constitu- 
tion is determined by Der Fiihrer. 

"2. To secure the closest co-operation of the offices of the party 
and the S.A. with the public officials, the representative of the Leader 
(Hess) and the Chief of Staff of the S.A. (Rohm) are to be members 
of the Cabinet ." x 

This law further made party members and storm troopers, as well 
as members of other organizations at the discretion of Hitler, subject 
to special party and S.A. jurisdiction. The party leaders thus secured 
the right of arresting, imprisoning, or otherwise punishing party 
members guilty of insubordination or neglect of duty. These of- 
fences were so broadly defined as to give the leaders arbitrary power 
to proceed against dissidents within the ranks. Public authorities 
were required to assist party officials in apprehending offenders, who 
would be dealt with, not in the courts, but by special party agencies. 
Legal theorists might regard this piece of legislation with some 
astonishment, since the State here authorized a political party to 
exercise judicial and police functions over its own members. But in 
reality this "State within a State" was non-existent. Adolf Hitler, 
Reichskanzler, had merely authorized Adolf Hitler, Fiihrer, to deal 
with his subordinates as he saw fit. All distinction between the 
NSDAP and the German State therewith disappeared, except in a 
purely administrative sense. 

On December n the new Reichstag met in the Kroll Opera. Of 
the 661 members, 659 appeared in brown shirts. Only Papen wore 
civilian clothes. Hugenberg was excused from attending because of 

!R.G.B. f 1933, Vol. I, No. 135 (December i), p. 1016. 


"illness." Hitler spent the day at Wilhelmshaven. There were no 
speeches and no legislation. Goring merely presented the names of 
the new officers. Hans Kerrl, Prussian Minister of Justice, Hermann 
Esser, Bavarian Nazi leader, and Dr. von Stauss, banker, were 
named vice-presidents. The list was accepted by acclamation. Goring 
called for three cheers for Hitler and the German people and ad- 
journed the session, which lasted seven and a half minutes. 

On December 15 Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Mecklenburg-Schwerin 
were united into a single state. 1 Six new laws effaced the remaining 
"liberalistic and democratic vestiges" in Prussia on December 18. All 
elective provincial, communal, and municipal legislative bodies were 
abolished and replaced by purely advisory appointive bodies composed 
of Nazi leaders and representatives of trades and professions. Since 
the party was known to be preparing a "Reich Reform Law," it was 
anticipated that the Prussian example would be extended through- 
out Germany. All plans were kept secret, however. On January 9 
Dr. Ley, in his capacity as staff leader of the PO, announced that all 
party members who discussed the Reich Reform publicly in speech 
or writing would be heavily punished, by the order of Hess. 2 

On January 30, 1934, the first anniversary of Hitler's appointment 
as Chancellor, the Reichstag reassembled. Hitler and Hess entered 
together and were greeted with the Fascist salute. Goring opened the 
session : "Out of depression, out of the depths, out of black night, the 
German people have raised themselves anew and have again found 
Honour and Freedom. . . . With brutal fists we have repulsed the 
enemies of the State. We are ruthless against those who place their 
own interests above the interests of the nation. . . . The world must 
learn that as the people are united, so also is its leadership and its 
representation in the German Reichstag." Frick, as Nazi faction 
leader, placed a bill on the Reform of the Reich on the agenda. Hitler 
then stepped to the rostrum amid a storm of cheers and delivered a 
long address: 

"Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag! If today, looking back- 
ward, we name the year 1933 as the Year of the Nationalsocialist 
Revolution, this characterization will be considered as justified in the 
history of our people through an objective evaluation of its experi- 

1 Ibid., Vol. I, No. 142, p. 1065. 

2 V.B., January 9, 1934. 


ences and its antecedents. . . . There could be only one question of 
the age after the ruthlessly propagated lesson of the Marxist idea of 
equality had at length overcome the last protection of business by 
bourgeois politics, in order to give a death-blow to the political and 
economic ideology of the bourgeois period. . . . 

"For fourteen years Germany suffered a collapse which was un- 
paralleled in history. It effected an overturn of all values. What was 
good became bad, what was bad, good. The hero was despised and the 
coward honoured. . . . This could only lead to Communist chaos! 
. . . Victoriously, in this year, the life power of our people raised 
itself over the ruins. . . . Formerly one built new governments, but 
in a year we have forged a new people. . . ." * 

The Chancellor expressed his gratification at the recent agreement 
with Poland; denied any aggressive intentions toward Austria; 
spoke of the "traditional" friendship with Fascist Italy; reiterated 
his demand for equality of rights; and pleaded for reconciliation with 
France through a negotiated settlement of the Saar question, "the 
only territorial question between the two countries." He made no 
reference to the Reich Reform Bill. It was rushed through three 
readings in less than five minutes and adopted by acclamation. The 
Reichsrat, meeting simultaneously, performed its last official act by 
adopting the bill unanimously and without discussion. Frick ex- 
pounded the law over the radio on the following day: 

"The historical task of our times is the creation of a strong na- 
tional unitary State to replace the former Federal State. . . . The 
state governments from today on are merely administrative bodies 
of the Reich. . . . According to the so-called Enabling Act, the Reich 
government was empowered to make certain constitutional changes, 
but was at the same time restricted to some extent. . . . The law con- 
cerning the new structure of the Reich does away with these restric- 
tions and gives the Reich government complete power to undertake 
constitutional reconstruction." 2 

Though no new Constitution was promulgated, this important 
piece of legislation for the Neuaufbau des Reichs may well be re- 
garded as the decisive step in the liquidation of federalism and de- 
mocracy. It was signed by Hitler, Frick, Hess, Goring, Rohm, Goeb- 
bels, Darre, Seldte, Papen, and the Statthalters: 

1 Ibid., January 31, 1934. 

2 Ibid., February 2, 1934. 


"The plebiscite and the Reichstag elections o November 12, 1933 
have proved that the German people has been blended into an in- 
dissoluble unity which has done away with all inner political barriers 
and differences. 

"The Reichstag has therefore unanimously accepted the following 
law, which, with the unanimous consent of the Reichsrat, is here- 
with proclaimed, after it has been established that the requirements 
for legislation changing the Constitution have been complied with: 

"Article i. The popular representations of the states are abolished. 

"Article 2. (i) The sovereign rights of the states are transferred 
to the Reich. (2) The state governments are subordinate to the Reich 

"Article 3. The Statthalters are subordinate to the Reich Minister 
of the Interior. 

"Article 4. The Reich government may determine new constitu- 
tional law. 

"Article 5. The Reich Minister of the Interior issues the orders 
and regulations necessary to carry out the law. 

"Article 6. This law goes into force on the day of its proclama- 
tion." x 

Thus at one blow the state legislatures, the rights of the states and 
the Reichsrat were all abolished and the Cabinet was authorized to 
promulgate a new Constitution if it so desired. On February 5 Frick 
issued a decree abolishing state citizenship and establishing a single 
Reich citizenship. A law of February 14 abolished the Reichsrat and 
the legations of the states in Berlin. Meanwhile, by a presidential 
decree of February 3, the Statthalters were deprived of such inde- 
pendence as they might have exercised, by being placed under the 
orders of the Minister of the Interior, and the state Cabinets were 
made mere agents of the central government. 

Germany thus became, at long last, a purely unitary State as well 
as an unlimited autocracy. The old Lander survived as administra- 
tive areas, but had even less autonomy than the Departments of 
France. Early in January 1935 Frick announced that they would be 
entirely abolished and replaced by twenty administrative districts. 
The Statthalters, like the French Prefects, were now agents of the 
Ministry of the Interior. But whereas in France and in other demo- 
cratic unitary States the central executive authorities are answerable 

1R.G.B., 1934, Vol. I, p. 75. 


to an elective parliament with powers to enact laws, grant or with- 
hold funds, and support or overthrow the Cabinet, the central execu- 
tives of the Third Reich are answerable only to Der Fiihrer, who is 
answerable only to God. 

Like other absolutist rulers, notably Napoleon III, Der Fiihrer has 
asserted his responsibility to the people and resorted to more or less 
farcical popular referenda, offering the electorate no genuine choice 
of any kind. In the long perspective of history it is probable that the 
"new" Fascist State, for all its elaborate paraphernalia of propaganda 
and "co-ordination," will be regarded merely as a reversion to the 
State-form of absolute and arbitrary divine-right monarchy, save 
that it possesses none of the continuity of a hereditary dynasty and 
none of the stability of a hereditary ruling class. Continuity must be 
supplied by Der Fiihrer. Stability must be supplied by the organized 
brotherhood of the party, sworn to blind obedience and completely 
at the mercy of the Leader. The capacity of such a regime to survive 
social and economic crises comparable to those which swept away 
States, governments, and social systems in much of central Europe 
between 1917 and 1922 remains to be demonstrated in the aftermath 
of the next general European war. 


DURING the first year of the Hitler regime the internal organization 
of the NSDAP underwent certain significant modifications. In every 
dictatorial one-party State the competition of organized groups for 
power and the fruits thereof necessarily assumes the form of rivalry 
among factions in the party. In democratic States the political process 
revolves about the efforts of interest groups to secure control of the 
law-making and executive machinery of government through elec- 
toral and parliamentary majorities. In dictatorships in which one 
political group destroys all its competitors, there are two possibilities: 
(i) the pressures of divergent-interest groups lead to armed conflict 
between the dictators and their enemies, since there are no pacific 
procedures of criticism and compromise available; or (2) they may 
be expressed and resolved within the party, either by means which 
are democratic in theory and purpose, as in the Communist Party 
of the U.S.S.R., or by means which are undemocratic, as in the Fascist 


Both German and Italian Fascist spokesmen insist on unity, leader- 
ship, discipline, and obedience. There cannot be and must not be any 
factions or divergencies of interests within the party or within the 
nation. But even the most brilliant propagandists and the most ruth- 
less terrorists of Fascism are quite incapable of annihilating class 
distinctions and destroying the rich diversity of interest groupings 
which necessarily develops in modern industrial societies. They can 
only seek to suppress the political manifestations of social forces and 
pressures. If all opposition outside of the party is destroyed, an "op- 
position" arises within the party, and the political process is resumed 
on this level. 

The basic cleavage between the "Left" proletarian radicals and 
the "Right" bourgeois conservatives within the Nazi movement has 
already been considered in the period prior to the seizure of power. 
Following the expulsion of revolutionary rebels in 1930 and 1931, 
the potential conflict between the two groups became quiescent. The 
exuberance of the socialistic radicals was in part drained off in the 
spring of 1933 by numerous opportunities for sadistic gratifications: 
terrorization of enemies, persecution of Jews, burning of books, etc. 
The expectation was prevalent that the second stage of the revolution 
or the "Second Revolution" would assume the form of the establish- 
ment of Nationalsocialism that is, of a collectivist economy in which 
the agrarian and industrial propertied classes would be deprived of 
many of their privileges, to the advantage of the lower middle classes, 
the small peasantry, and the proletariat. These elements within the 
party found no leader for those close to Der Fiihrer knew at all times 
that advocacy of social radicalism 'meant demotion, dismissal, or ex- 

Nevertheless, many local party and S.A. leaders leaned Leftward. 
They attempted to utilize their positions in the movement, and par- 
ticularly in the NSBO and the Labour Front, to interfere with pri- 
vate business, to coerce employers, and to promote socialization of 
industrial and commercial enterprises. The Reichsverband der In- 
dustrie was rudely " gleichgeschdtet." The directors were dismissed 
on April 6, 1933. Thyssen remained president, but was "assisted" by 
two party commissars under the direction of Dr. Otto Wagener, 
chief of the economic department of the NSDAP and later Economic 
Commissar for the Reich. Other organizations of employers and 
business men were likewise "co-ordinated," On May 26 Wagener 


was obliged to dissolve the Kampfbund o Nazi workers in industrial 
establishments and to warn party members against "wild interfer- 
ence" with business. Count Reventlow, Stoehr, the trade unionist, 
and Muchow, leader of the NSBO, were also prominently identified 
with the Left wing. The incipient conflict over Hugenberg's succes- 
sor, in which the radicals sought to secure Wagener's appointment 
as Minister of Economics, was symptomatic of unrest in the party 
ranks. Party commissars in business establishments became more 
active and gave voice to the growing agitation for "true German 
socialism." So widespread was this sentiment that many observers 
in June could speak of the NSDAP "going Bolshevik" and discuss 
seriously the proposed revolutionizing of capitalistic economy. 1 

This latent struggle for ascendency between radicals and conserva- 
tives within the NSDAP was temporarily resolved in the summer 
of 1933 without an open conflict. Hitler and his immediate sub- 
ordinates had always been committed to the maintenance of private 
property and the profit system and regarded the new dictatorship 
simply as the political corollary of the basic power patterns of cap- 
italistic economy. 2 Minor leaders in the party could not be permitted 
to misconstrue the meaning of the revolution. Meddling with busi- 
ness and loose talk of "socialization" and of a "workers' State" 
could not be tolerated. Hitler began emphasizing the necessity for 
"discipline" in mid-April. In his address of May 10 to the Labour 
Front, he warned dissenters that no one class could place its interests 
above those of the nation. Labour had "duties" rather than rights. It 
was not until after the suppression of the political parties, however, 
that Hitler moved vigorously against the advocates of the "Second 
Revolution." On July 2, at a meeting of S.A. and S.S. leaders at Bad 
Reichenthal, he declared: 

"I will crush brutally and ruthlessly every attempt made by reac- 
tionary or other circles to overthrow the present order. I will turn 
equally ruthlessly against the so-called Second Revolution, because 
that can have only chaotic consequences. Whoever rises in opposition 
to the Nationalsocialist State will be hit hard, wherever he is." 3 

On July 7 Hitler addressed the Reichsstatthalters: 

"The Nationalsocialist Party is the State. . . . Now we must de- 

1 Cf. Calvin B. Hoover: Germany Enters the Third Reich (July 1933), pp. 137-41 

and pp. 185 f. 

2 Cf. pp. 135-42 above. 

8 The New Yor^ Times, July 3, 1933. 


stroy the last vestiges of democracy, especially the methods of taking 
votes and reaching decisions by majorities, such as are still being used 
in the municipal governments, in business organizations, and in com- 
mittees. The responsibility of the individual personality must every- 
where be brought to a new importance. . . . Revolution is no per- 
manent condition; it must not turn into an enduring situation. The 
liberated stream of revolution must be directed into the secure river 
of evolution. . . . Ability alone must decide in business. 

"History will not base her judgment of us on how many business 
men we have deposed and locked up, but on whether we were able 
to provide work. Today we have all the power necessary to enforce 
our will, but we must be able to replace deposed business men by 
better ones. The business man must be judged first of all by his 
ability, and we must naturally put the business machinery in order. 
. . . Business is based on primitive laws that are anchored in human 
nature. . . . Our task is work, work, and once again work. . . . 

"The ideas of the program oblige us not to act like fools and upset 
everything, but to realize our trains of thought wisely and carefully. 
In the long run our political power will be all the more secure, the 
more we succeed in underpinning it economically. The Reich Com- 
missioners must therefore see to it and are responsible that no organi- 
zations or party offices assume the functions of government, dismiss 
individuals, and make appointments to offices, to do which the gov- 
ernment of the Reich alone is competent and, with regard to business, 
the Reich Minister of Economics." * 

On July ii Der Fiihrer told the party leaders emphatically that the 
revolution was over and that no "Second Revolution" would be 
tolerated. The Reichsverband der Industrie simultaneously ordered 
its members to drop all pending plans for the integration of industry 
into the "corporative State." On the i3th Hitler reiterated his warn- 
ings once more. 

"I capitulate only before reason. We have conquered the land, now 
we must cultivate it in peace. Our influence on business must depend 
on training economic leaders. We must create a synthesis between 
the idealism of Nationalsocialism and the realities of business." 2 

Minister of Economics Schmitt declared : 

"The problems facing German business can be solved only by 

1 Cf. Pollock and Hcncman, op. cit., pp. 76-8; The 'New Yor^ Times, July 8, 1933. 

2 The New York Times, July 14, 1933. 


business itself that is, by responsible leaders who have grown out 
of it. The State shall administer and, with its economic policy, pro- 
vide leadership for business, but it cannot do business itself. Every 
attempt to socialize business is doomed to failure because of the 
human factor." 

Action against the radicals was not limited to warnings. The 
Ministry of Economics was now in safe hands. Darre's agrarian 
radicalism could be rendered innocuous despite his appointment to 
the Cabinet. Gottfried Feder was appeased by appointment as Under- 
secretary in the Ministry of Economics, but was given no real au- 
thority. (Later, in April 1934, he was "promoted" to the leadership 
of the new Reich Commissariat for Land Settlement, but this agency 
was to deal only with garden homes for workers near urban centres 
and had no jurisdiction over the peasantry.) Hitler discharged the 
business commissars of the party on July 13 and sent Wagener into 
retirement. He appointed as his party plenipotentiary in economic 
affairs Wilhelm Keppler, a conservative engineer and friend of Ernst 
Tengelmann, GSring's special "economic adviser." Tengelmann's 
father and brothers were directors of various Thyssen enterprises. 
Hans Frank told the public prosecutor: "Whoever speaks of continu- 
ing the revolution or of a second revolution must realize that he 
rebels against the Leader and must therefore be treated accordingly." 

Muchow was "accidentally" shot to death in the Rhineland. Stoehr 
was demoted. The "Fighting League of the Trading Middle Class" 
was dissolved in July. The S.A. "auxiliary police" was disbanded on 
August 8. Rebellious S.A. men were expelled. Thousands were se- 
cretly arrested and sent to concentration camps. Not a single trust 
was nationalized. Not a single department store was municipalized. 
Not a single Junker estate was divided. On the contrary, Fritz Thys- 
sen was appointed to various honorary and advisory posts, was made 
a kind of economic dictator in Westphalia, and was assisted in ex- 
tending and consolidating his monopolistic grip upon west German 
industry, commerce, and finance. 

Thus the socialistic illusions of the more radical petty-bourgeois 
and proletarian elements were dispelled. The conflict was not yet 
ended. But for the present, unity was restored. The unanimous en- 
thusiasm of the party members and their blind devotion to their 
leaders were appropriately celebrated by a gigantic demonstration in 
Niirnberg during the first days of September. This first "Partei-Tag" 


since the seizure of power was impressively staged on an unprece- 
dented scale. As in all congresses of the NSDAP, there was no dis- 
cussion of problems or policies, no criticisms, no voting, no decisions 
only orders from above and obedience from below. But there were 
drama, pageantry, music, marching, and oratory on a gargantuan 
scale. On August 30 some half a million people descended upon the 
picturesque old city from all corners of the Reich: 60,000 Hitler 
Jugend, 160,000 party officials, 200,000 S.A. and S.S. officers and men, 
countless thousands of visitors and camp-followers. Amid enormous 
banners, reams of bunting, myriads of standards, mountains of 
sausages, oceans of beer, and solemn festivities without end, the brown 
and black armies drilled, manoeuvred, saluted, listened to speeches, 
honoured the dead, consecrated ten thousand flags, and paraded a 
hundred thousand strong through the media:val streets in celebration 
of the "Congress of Victory." 

Hitler spoke three times. On the final day, September 3, he de- 
livered a long address to the multitudes. Amid a torrent of words 
there was little new. The old phrases, their efficacy as yet undimmed 
by time, thundered out over the throng: Kultur. Destiny. Loyalty. 
Salvation from Bolshevism and the Jewish ferment of decomposi- 
tion. Blood and soil. Race. Sub-humanity. Apes. The sacredness of 
private property and private initiative: 

"Either men are all of equal capacity to govern a State, in which 
case the maintenance of private property is not only an injustice but 
simply a stupidity. Or men are not really capable of taking over col- 
lectively the collective material and cultural inheritance of a nation 
as common property in a common administration, in which case they 
are still less capable of ruling a State collectively!" 

Obedience. Leadership. Sacrifice. Courage. Faith. Heroism. Mad 
applause followed and then, as always, the Horst Wcssel Lied. All 
who participated were reborn anew and exalted in the service of a 
holy mission. 1 

Where were the centres of power in this party of the dictatorship ? 2 
The intricately articulated structure of the party organization, adapted 

1 Cf. V.B., September i, 2, 3, 4, 1933. 

2 Cf. the suggestive analysis in Ernst Henri: Hitler Over Europe, pp. 41-73, in terms 
of five major groupings: the triumvirate, Hitlcr-Goring-Gocbbels; the S.S. and the 
secret police; the S.A. of Rohm, Heines, Killinger; the Right capitalists Thyssen, 
Schmitt, Keppler, Funk, and Schacht; and the Left radicals Wagcner, Stoehr, Mu- 
chow, Bruckner, and Revcntlow. 


as well to wielding power after January 1933 as ^ had been to con- 
quering the tools of power before the victory, became more complex 
than before. Its local organization remained substantially unaltered. 
Its central agencies in the Reichsleitung expanded to fulfil the new 
tasks imposed upon them. Martin Bormann and Rudolf Reiner be- 
came the staff leaders of Hess in the party office of Der Fiihrer. A 
Verbindungstab was created (55 Wilhelmstrasse, Berlin) to co- 
ordinate the work of the party and of the public authorities. A Polit- 
ical Central Commission was established under Hess, with subcom- 
missions to supervise party work in the state and local governments, 
to guide the party press and to deal with economic questions. The 
Political Organizations I and II were united, with Robert Ley dis- 
placing Gregor Strasser as staff leader and Paul Schulze disappearing 
from the scene. Under the PO were grouped the NSBO, the 
NSHAGO, the NS Frauenschaft, the NS Beamtcnabteilung, and 
the NS Kriegsopferversorgung. The two Reichspropagandaleitung 
sections under Goebbels and Reinhardt were retained. The Reich 
Inspections I and II were abolished. The Agrarian Policy Office and 
the Legal Division, formerly under PO II, became separate sections 
under the old leaders. 

Otherwise the central party organization remained unchanged, 1 
save than an Office for Defence against Lies (Lugenabwehrzentral- 
stelle) was established 2 and another new office was created the 
Atissenpolitisches Ami (APA), headed by Alfred Rosenberg. Rosen- 
berg's APA ("Foreign Political Bureau") was located at 70 Wil- 
helmstrasse, near the Foreign Office, and was designed to engage in 
espionage and propaganda work abroad. Epp's WPA (Defence 
Policy Bureau) had its main headquarters in Munich and a branch 
at 70 Wilhelmstrasse. 3 It occupies the same anomalous position with 
regard to the Reichswehrministerium as the APA does with regard 
to the Foreign Office. On June 13, 1934, the APA moved to larger 
quarters in Margarethenstrasse. 

All party activities continued to be directed from the great Munich 
Brown House, reconstructed and enlarged in the spring of 1934. 
Here or in near-by buildings were located most of the central party 
agencies. The staff of the Adjutant of Der Fiihrer worked here under 

1 Cf. pp. 67-9 above and NS Jahrbuch, 1934, pp. 133-8. 

2 V.B., March 24, 1934. 

3 Ibid., March 28, 1934. 


the command of Hess and directed by Martin Bormann, with super- 
visory powers over the Verbindungstab in Berlin. In the offices of 
the Verbindungstab worked Dr. Otto Dietrich, Reich Press Chief 
of the NSDAP, and Ernst Hanfstangl, Chief of the Foreign Press 
Division. 1 The Munich Staff (Stab des Stellvertreters des Ftihrers) 
contained sections on Race, Public Health, and Population Policy; 
the NS Physicians' Society; the Race Policy Bureau (Rassenpolit- 
isches Amt der NSDAP or RPA, formerly called the "Propaganda 
Office for Population Policy and Race Hygiene"), with local branches 
and subsidiary organizations throughout the Reich; the Examination 
Commission for the Protection of NS Literature, created by Hess 
April 16, 1934, and directed by Bouhler, with contacts with the 
Propaganda Ministry and power to pass upon the orthodoxy of all 
Nazi writings; the Office of the Trustee for Economic Questions, A. 
Pietzsch; and sundry other bureaus. 2 Also in the Brown House were 
the headquarters of Reichsschatzmeister Schwarz, charged by Hit- 
ler on March 23, 1934 with jurisdiction over all matters of property 
and finances of the NSDAP and its allied organizations, and of the 
Financial and Administrative Organization of the party, with its 
thousands of local offices, its elaborate bookkeeping and auditing 
agencies, its complete records of the party membership, its Hilfsljasse, 
its Reichszeitgmeisterei, supplying arms and equipment to the S.S. 
and the S.A. 3 Here, too, laboured Dr. Hans Frank's Rechtsabteilung, 
controlling the organizations of lawyers and jurists, 4 and the im- 
portant Political Organization of the party. 

The PO is perhaps the most significant of the many central agencies 
established in Munich. Like most of the other bureaus, it has evolved 
from an administrative agency of the NSDAP to a vast organization 
of control and co-ordination. It centralizes and integrates the activi- 
ties of the NSBO, the NSHAGO, the NS Women's Organization, 
the organizations of public officials, and the various Fachschajt pro- 
fessional groups within the civil service. Each of its branches is in turn 
an agency of central control for a bewildering variety of sub-organiza- 
tions. The Amt jiir Beamte, for example, controls the Rcichsbund 
der Deutschen Beamten, embracing no less than nine hundred dis- 
tinct organizations of civil servants. The Staff Leader of the Amt 

1 Ibid., April 14, 1934. 
2 Ibid., April 17 and April 25, 1934. 
8 Ibid., March 28 and April 28, 1934. 
4 Ibid., May 5, 1934. 


controls fourteen sub-bureaus, of which one, the Fachschajten, con- 
sists in turn of fourteen agencies supervising various professional 
groups of public officials. 1 Through its bureaus the Amt is repre- 
sented throughout the Reich by corresponding subordinate organiza- 
tions in the Gaue, the Kreise, and the Ortsgruppen of the party. Thus 
every local civil servant in Germany belongs to the local branch of 
his particular organization, which is federated with others in the 
Reichsbund and is supervised in localities, in districts, in the states, 
and in the Reich as a whole, by the corresponding agencies of the 
Amt, which in turn is a branch of the PO, which is a segment of the 
Oberste Reichsleitung (OR) of the party, which finally is under 
Hitler's personal direction. 

The pattern of these interrelationships can be suggested by noting 
the following circumstances: The staff leader of the PO, Robert Ley, 
is also leader of the Labour Front and of the NSBO. The chief for 
the Amt fur Beamte leads the Reichsbund der Beamten. The chief of 
the PO Office for War Victims leads the Reichsbund der Kriegsopfer. 
The chief of the PO Office for Communal Policy leads the Deutscher 
Gemeindetag? etc. The personnel offices of these organizations, 
moreover, are divisions of the Personal-Amt of the PO. Their or- 
ganization officials are agents of the Organisationsamt of the PO. 
Their publicity and propaganda bureaus are branches of the PO 
Reichsschulungsamt. The sixteen labour groups in the Arbeitsjront 
are divisions of the NSBO. Or, to take another example: on June 2, 
1934 the Subcommission for Technology of the Political Central 
Commission (the Engineering-Technical Division of the former PO 
II) was converted by order of Hess into a Bureau for Technique, 
headed by Gottfried Feder and placed directly under the PO of the 
OR. The Kampjbtind der Architefyen und Ingenieure was dissolved 
and displaced by a "NS Bund Deutscher TechniJ( f (NSBDT), with 
the same officers as the new Amt and also controlled by the PO. In 
the future, only party members may belong to the NSBDT that is, 
architects and engineers not belonging to the party are practically ex- 
cluded from a career. Fedej's aide, Dr. Todt, took over the leadership 
of the "Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft der technischwissenschajtlichen 
Arbeit" (RTA). A party commission was appointed to create a Reich 
Chamber of Technkjife. 8 

1 Ibid., March i, 1934. 

2R.G.B., 1933, Vol. I, No. 142, p. 1065; cf. Ley's order in V.B., March 29, 1934. 

3 V.B., June 2, 1934. 


It would scarcely be an exaggeration to say that every man, woman, 
and child in Germany belongs to one or more organizations, voca- 
tional, political, ecclesiastical, educational, or recreational, which is 
directed and controlled by an intricate hierarchy of governing agen- 
cies, reaching down to the smallest of little men in the smallest of 
hamlets and controlled from above, in the last analysis, by Der 
Fiihrer himself. No "un-co-ordinated" organizations are tolerated. 
And in all organizations the Fuhrerprinzip prevails no election of 
officers, no discussion of problems, no decisions by democratic agree- 
ment, but arbitrary authority from the top down and unlimited re- 
sponsibility and obedience from the bottom up. In this sense, at least, 
the "Totalitarian State" is a reality. The principle that party and 
State are one means not merely that the NSDAP monopolizes public 
offices, but that it controls completely every manifestation of social 
life among the sixty-five million inhabitants of the Third Reich. The 
elaborate local, intermediate, and central machinery whereby this 
miracle is accomplished is so incredibly complex that it could not be 
presented adequately in even the most elaborate set of diagrams, nor 
could it be fully described in many hundreds of pages. But the prin- 
ciple is simple: every German, not only in his role as a citizen, but in 
every possible role which he plays as a human being from the cradle 
to the grave, is subject to the will of Der Fiihrer. 

The party itself is thus the framework within which and around 
which the Totalitarian State has been created. It is the instrumentality 
through which Hitler governs the Reich more autocratically than the 
most arbitrary of ancient Oriental despots. The membership, which 
had grown to over a million and a half by February 1933, expanded to 
almost two millions by autumn, with about two million additional 
applicants. Membership was then closed, reopened for one week 
prior to the election of November 12, and then closed again. Some 
3,900,000 persons held party cards in January of 1934. The carefully 
recruited and well-drilled Praetorian Guard, the black-uniformed 
Schutzstaftel (S.S.), expanded to perhaps 200,000 members by the 
close of 1933, while the S.A. grew to a brown army of 2,500,000 men, 
including "reserves." Rohm announced on November 6, 1933 that in 
the future the S.A. would be the sole recruiting agency for the party. 
While formerly party members often became storm troopers, while 
some storm troopers never became party members at all, in the 
future all S.A. men would become party members and the party 


would secure new recruits from no other source. 1 Shortly afterwards 
Stahlhelm members over thirty-five years of age became members of 
the S.A. Reserve I and those over forty-five of the S.A. Reserve II. On 
September 24, 1933, in an impressive ceremony near Hanover, Rohm 
had "welcomed" the Stahlhelm members into the S.A. On March 
27, 1934, following an agreement between Rohm and Seldte, the 
Stahlhelm was reorganized as the "NS German Front Fighters' 
League." 2 

The Stahlhelm, however, retained its separate identity, and fric- 
tion between its members and the storm troopers continued. There 
were likewise rivalries and jealousies between the S.S. and the S.A. 
and between these and party officials who belonged to neither the 
black-shirt nor the brown-shirt armies. These rifts were repeatedly 
denied, but the denials themselves furnished the best evidence of 
continued disharmony. 3 In this potentially hostile alignment the rank 
and file of the S.A. represented the radicalized lower middle class 
and proletariat which had been disappointed by Der Fiihrer's repudia- 
tion of the Second Revolution in July 1933. They looked with suspi- 
cion upon the S.S. mercenaries, who represented conservative bour- 
geois and aristocratic elements sworn to serve Hitler even, if need be, 
against the S.A. itself. 

In the spring of 1934 the Oberste Reichsleitung of the NSDAP 
Hitler's "party cabinet" consisted of the following leaders: 4 

Rudolf Hess, Adjutant to Hitler, Minister without portfolio, Director 
of the Stab dcs Stellvertrcters des Fuhrcrs, and of the Political Cen- 
tral Commission. 

Ernst Rohm, Chief of Staff of the S.A., Minister without portfolio. 

Hcinrich Himmler, Chief of Staff of the S.S. and (after April 20, 1934) 
Chief of the Secret Political Police. 

Franz Schwarz, Reich Treasurer of the party. 

Philip Bouhler, Reich Business Manager of the party. 

Walter Buch, Chairman of Uschla. 

Wilhelm Grimm, Chairman of the Second Chamber of Uschla. 

Robert Ley, Staff Chief of the PO, leader of the German Labor Front 
and of the NSBO. 

Walter Darre, Director of the Agrarian Policy Bureau, Minister of 

1 Berliner Tagcblatt, November 6, 1933. 

2 Text of order, V.B., March 29, 1934. 

8 Cf. Rudolf Hess: "S.A. nnd S.S.," NS Monatshcftc. January 1934. 
4 Cf . pp. 67-70 above; NS Jahrbuth, 1934, p. 134. 


Agriculture and Food. 

Joseph Goebbels, Reich Propaganda Director and Minister of Propa- 
ganda and People's Enlightenment. 

Hans Frank, Director of the Rechtsabteilung and Reich Commissioner 
of Justice. 

Otto Dietrich, Reich Press Chief. 

Max Amann, Direttor of the Press Bureau. 

Alfred Rosenberg, Director of the APA and (after January 24, 1934) 
"Dictator of Philosophy and Education." 

Franz Ritter von Epp, Director of the WPA and Statthalter for Bavaria. 

Baldur von Schirach, Reich Youth Leader. 

Karl Fiehler, Secretary of the NS Deutsche Arbeitervcrcin. 

The OR thus included all the directors of the eleven major divisions 
of the central party apparatus, plus Himmler, Dietrich, Schirach, 
Fiehler, and Grimm. Only four of its members (Hess, Rohm, Goeb- 
bels, and Darre) were members of the Reich Cabinet. And the only 
old Nazi members of the Reich Cabinet who were not members of 
the OR were Goring and Frick, though Bernard Rust, appointed 
Minister of Science, Instruction, and People's Education, April 30, 
1934; Hans Kerrl, named Minister without portfolio in June 1934; 
and Schmitt and Seldte, belated Nazi converts, were also not in the 

German high politics under the dictatorship centres about the re- 
lationships between these leading personalities and between the 
various groups in the NSDAP. Hitler continued to labour in lonely 
glory at the apex of the new hierarchy. The pomp of power brought 
no relaxation. At 78 Wilhelmstrasse are his Chancellor's offices, sim- 
ply and tastefully decorated and breathing an atmosphere of quiet 
discipline and work in orderly progress. Here toil twoscore officials, 
a score of employees, and as many labourers and flunkies. Dr. Lam- 
mers is Secretary of State to the Chancellor and Chief of Administra- 
tion in the Reichskanzlei. Gruppenjuhrer Bruckner, Adjutant to the 
Chancellor, Oberjiihrer Schaub, Adjutant and private secretary, and 
Dr. Meerwalt, personal referendary, are Lammers' immediate sub- 
ordinates. In the centre and over all sits Der Fiihrer at his desk, below 
a huge portrait of Bismarck and next to the work-chair of the "Iron 
Chancellor." Here he labours for hours on end, receiving visitors and 
conferring with leaders from all parts of the Reich and from every 
capital of the globe. 


When not occupied in the Chancellery, Hitler is usually busy else- 
where in Berlin, Munich, or Neudeck with travels, speaking-engage- 
ments, and sundry ceremonies throughout the Reich. He continues 
to live like an ascetic Messiah no tobacco, no alcohol, little meat, no 
women, few recreations. Dictatorship has become his vocation, his 
avocation, his life, his love, his whole existence. For rest he retires 
to his mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps, or 
listens to Wagnerian opera (he has heard Die Meistersinger over a 
hundred times), or requests Ernst Hanfstangl, court jester and pian- 
ist, to play for him in seclusion. "Putzy" (Hanfstangl's nickname at 
Harvard) plays preferably Beethoven or Wagner. Isolde's "Liebes- 
tod" from Tristan is a favourite selection of Der Fiihrer suggesting 
to him, perhaps, the passion of a love which he has never known 
and symbolizing the frustrations of omnipotence. 

Hitler is, above all, the liaison between the NSDAP and the old 
elite, the link between the party and the allies which he used so skil- 
fully for his purposes. His "workers' " party is connected through him 
on the one hand with Thyssen, Krupp, Flick, Voegler, and the whole 
aristocracy of industrialists and financiers, and on the other with the 
agrarian-military aristocracy of the Junkers and the Reichswehr : 
Papen, Neurath, Blomberg, et al. And, prior to August 2, 1934, he 
was the link with Hindenburg. Campaign- posters in November 1933 
showed them together "The Marshal and the Corporal." The Old 
Gentleman had qualms at times over the policies of the Nazis, but 
they had learned the way to his heart. On August 27, 1933, he re- 
ceived another "gift" : five thousand tax-free acres adjoining Neudeck, 
donated by the Prussian government. 1 "I am thinking with reverence, 
fidelity, and gratitude," he said, "of my Kaiser, my King and Lord, 
in this hour when I am thinking also of my fallen comrades-in-arms 
and when I proceed to thank you for this gift." But his sentimental 
nostalgia for the Hohenzollerns was unnecessary. Hitler served the 
Junkers as well as William II. And Hitler lost no opportunity to 
praise and glorify Hindenburg. In his last New Year's Day greetings 
to Der Fiihrer the Old Gentleman declared : 

"In this hour when we look back into the old year and forward 
into the new, I feel a deep need for thanking you with all my heart 
for what you have done for the German people and the Fatherland, 

1 R.G.B., 1933, Vol. I, 95, p. 595. This law exempted the president and his male heirs 
(Oskar) from all payment of Reich and Prussian taxes on the enlarged estate. 


and also you gentlemen of the Cabinet and all others who have 
collaborated within and outside the government in the work of 

"May 1934 lead us further upward from the firm foundation won 
through our having come together in a united nation ! Let us start 
this year with firm confidence in the future of Germany, in divine 
aid, and in the unity of work for our beloved Fatherland/' l 

In dealing with his immediate subordinates in the party, Hitler 
retained their loyalty by applying the Habsburg maxim : " Divide 
and Rule.'' He played off Goebbels against Goring, Himmlcr against 
Rohm, Schmitt against Darre, Frick against Rosenberg, and each 
against all the others. By a nice distribution of posts, powers, and 
honours, he strives to satisfy all and to compose differences of interest 
and ambitions. Each aspirant to ascendancy in his counsels is allowed 
considerable latitude. Only three things are not to be tolerated 
defiance of his wishes, insubordination and intrigue against him, and 
social radicalism directed against the Junkers and industrialists. He 
holds himself aloof and keeps always close to him the quiet figure of 
Rudolf Hess, who, like Hitler, is conservative in all social and eco- 
nomic matters and is impartially critical of monarchist reactionaries 
and socialistic radicals. 

The most powerful and ambitious politician in Hitler's immediate 
entourage is undoubtedly Hermann Goring, Premier and Minister 
of the Interior of Prussia, President of the Reichstag, Reich Minister 
of Air, Commander of the Prussian Police, head of the Prussian 
Secret Political Police, commander of the S.A. "Auxiliary Police" 
of 1933, founder and president of the Reichsluftschutzbund, etc. 
This burly, blond giant sadistic, bellowing, swaggering, vin- 
dictive is an incarnation of that brutality which he has always 
regarded as a virtue. His vanity is a source of innumerable anec- 
dotes. He has had a special police station built in the garden of 
his Berlin residence to protect him from harm. Do/ens of medals 
and scores of uniforms, some of his own design, adorn his 
wardrobe. His conceit and theatricality have led him on occasion 
to receive visitors in a blue velvet dressing-gown trimmed with 
ermine and with a lion cub following at his heels. Whether 
he still takes morphine is doubtful. Jealous of such colleagues as 
Goebbels and Rosenberg, who write brilliantly, he too has published 

1 The New Yor% Times, January i, 1934. 


his book clumsy in style and nai've in content: Aujbruch einer Na- 
tion* He has reached out in all directions for power and more 
power. With his military fantasies and Napoleonic dreams, he op- 
posed the absorption of Prussia into the Reich and sought to enter 
the Reichswehr as well as to secure command of the police, the S.A., 
and the Secret Police. His "Flyers' Corps" is another source of pride 
and power. He apparently envisages the great air fleet which he is 
building as the decisive offensive arm in the coming "war of libera- 

Goring's ambitions have undoubtedly caused Hitler himself occa- 
sional anxiety. He has not been a member of the Oberste Reichslei- 
tung since the seizure of power. During the summer of 1933 a no- 
ticeable coolness developed between the two men. The precise reasons 
are obscure. According to one version, Goring demanded the rank of 
a general in the Reichswehr. This was granted to him in the form of 
a secret commission from Hindenburg perhaps in return for the 
new Neudeck donation but on the understanding that the commis- 
sion should become effective only if an international crisis over Ger- 
man rearmament should require that the police, the S.A., and the 
army be more closely articulated. The crisis failed to materialize, but 
Goring's vanity caused him to announce- his appointment regardless. 
It was granted on August 29. He became an Infantry General and 
secured one more uniform to wear. This, coupled with his efforts to 
use the Prussian police for his own purposes and his clashes with 
Goebbels over control of theatres and other cultural tools of propa- 
ganda, irritated Der Fiihrer considerably. The abolition of the Prus- 
sian Landtag weakened Goring's position, though he was allowed to 
retain his new Staatsrat. He remains outside of the OR and yet has 
powers far greater than anyone in it. The abolition of the S.A. aux- 
iliary police on August 8, 1933, however, deprived him of one of his 
favourite weapons. On April 20, 1934, his subordinate, Diels, resigned 
as head of the Prussian Secret Political Police and was, at Hitler's 
orders, replaced by Himmler, chief of the S.S., who now consolidated 
control of all of the state political police in his own hands. This was 
doubtless a precaution on Hitler's part against Goring and Rohm. 
Goring's position was further weakened on April 30, when he re- 
signed as Prussian Minister of the Interior and was succeeded by 

1 Berlin: Mittlcr; 1934; English version: Germany Reborn (London: Mathews and 
Marrot; 1934). 


Frick. On May n he yielded control of the administrative and crim- 
inal police to Kurt Daluege, Berlin police chief, named head of the 
new police department of the Reich Ministry of the Interior. Since 
"Bloody Saturday" June 30, 1934 Goring has again succeeded to 
some degree in regaining the favour of Der Fiihrer. 

The diminutive -cripple, Goebbels, is sometimes spoken of as the 
third member of a triumvirate, though Rohm might once have 
claimed the honour. Far more intelligent and astute than either Hitler 
or Goring, Goebbels has been contemptuous at least of the latter. As a 
master propagandist and dramatist, he has been indispensable to the 
party and has been content to do this one job well. He entered the 
Cabinet as head of the new Ministry of People's Enlightenment and 
Propaganda on March 15, 1933. He has no force at his immediate 
disposal, save the overwhelming force of his own cleverness in hyp- 
notizing the masses. Toward Goring, Rosenberg, and Rohm he has 
never been cordial. 

The stocky S.A. commander, bent upon monopolizing the party 
and the State for his own storm troopers, was in his way as ambitious 
as Goring. But he was less adaptable and even less successful in worm- 
ing his way into the Reichswehr. His addiction to pederasty made 
Goebbels and Goring feel virtuous and superior. Rohm was sur- 
rounded by equally unscrupulous and dissolute lieutenants, holding 
high S.A. posts: Edmund Heines, Breslau police chief and S.A. com 
mander for Silesia and the East; Paul Schulze, also a Feme murderer; 
Karl Ernst, S.A. commander in Berlin; Killinger, Pfefler, Schneid- 
huber, and others. Victor Lutze, S.A. commander for western Ger- 
many, was a somewhat more respectable functionary, though of no 
particular prominence. Franz Ritter von Epp was also an S.A. man. 
As Statthalter for Bavaria, a member of the OR and head of the 
WPA, he was more powerful than any other S.A. commander save 
Rohm himself. But he was sixty-five years old on October 16, 1933 
and far removed from the radical young libertines who basked in the 
warmth of Rohm's affection. 

Between the S.A. group and the S.S. group, which are the antipodes 
of intra-party politics, stand other leaders not definitely in either the 
radical or the conservative camp. Goring is a moderate in social and 
economic matters, but belligerent and aggressive in the diplomatic 
and military field. Goebbels favours caution and delay in foreign 
affairs and no longer talks social radicalism. Both are wise enough 


to know that they can shine only in reflected light from Hitler. The 
radical Feder and the extremist Gregor Strasser, of doubtful loyalty, 
remained political nonentities during 1933-4. The radical Wagener 
was retired; Darre was rendered innocuous, despite his occasional 
wild talk (for peasant consumption) about dividing the Junker 
estates. Schmitt, Rust, Frank, Kerrl, and Seldte are definitely con- 
servative. Frick had once been a radical, but now was safely tamed. 
Robert Ley, while pushed toward radicalism by his Arbeitsfront, is 
also "safe," since his interest is primarily in drinking and in advancing 
the fortunes of Robert Ley. The latter interest can be served by fol- 
lowing blindly the teetotaler, Hitler. 

Alfred Rosenberg, philosopher and anti-Semite far excellence, is 
too concerned with racial mysticism, Nordic imperialism, the crusade 
against Bolshevism, and his beloved Weltanschauung to care very 
much whether social radicals or conservatives rule the Nazi roost. He 
remained editor of the V.B. and a member of the OR. On April 20, 

1933, he was honoured by being made head of the new APA. What- 
ever ambitions he may have had toward the post of Minister of For- 
eign Affairs were doomed by his rabid anti-Sovietism and by the 
almost universal demonstration of popular disgust which he evoked 
in England during his mission of mid-May 1933. On January 24, 

1934, he was appointed by Hitler "supervisor of the whole spiritual 
and weltanschaulichen schooling and education" of the party and all 
its subordinate organizations. 1 

On the extreme Right, close to Hitler and identified with Junker 
and industrialist interests, stands the mercenary army of the S.S., 
which has evolved out of Hitler's personal body-guard. This force 
was expanded rapidly in 1933-4 as a counterweight to the radical 
mass army of the S.A. Its leaders occupy many key positions. Its chief, 
Himmler, united his forces with the Secret Political Police in April 
1934. Hess, .Dietrich, Amann, Darre, and Daluege are also S.S. men. 
In the spring of 1934 this was the force held in reserve by Hitler for 
use, if necessary, against any possible recrudescence of socialistic rad- 
icalism and S.A. insubordination. If the cleavage between Left and 
Right should ever lead to a serious intra-party crisis, the S.S. could 
be relied upon to do its work swiftly and efficiently. It would ensure 
the continued domination of the NSDAP and of the Third Reich by 
the defenders of the social elite and of monopolistic capitalism. 

1 V.B., February 2, 1934. 






IT HAS long since become a truism to say that the history of human 
government, secular and ecclesiastical, is in large measure the history 
of man's inhumanity to man. The hands of rulers have almost in- 
variably been red with the blood of their victims, for the killing of 
critics has ever been the simplest and most immediately efficacious 
way of disposing of opposition. So sweet are the fruits of power and 
so insistent are the imperatives of politics that in almost all cultures 
the assumption has been tacitly accepted that those who act in the 
name of the State may legitimately transgress all laws of God and 
man in their treatment of their enemies The public administration 
of "justice," moreover, has ever sanctified the commission of acts 
which are banned by morality and prohibited by law in private inter- 
personal relations. As in war, the unrestrained expression of ele- 
mental id-drives becomes not only permissible but noble. Helpless 
victims are branded as public enemies. Prosecutors, judges, jail-keep- 
ers, and executioners become respected custodians of the public wel- 
fare. Unlike soldiers, hangmen are not quite of the stature of "heroes," 
but they are honoured and indispensable public servants. Frequently 
the public is treated to the vicarious sadistic and masochistic thrill of 
being permitted to view the last agonies of the condemned. In this 
fashion the psychic satisfactions derived by torturers and axmen from 
the practice of their profession are shared by the whole community. 
All onlookers are exalted by participating in solemn acts of justice 
and frightened into submissiveness by direct knowledge of what 
awaits them should they, too, become law-breakers. 
The use of terror and brutality by the dictatorship of the NSDAP 

does not distinguish it from other regimes. The form of the Nazi 



terror, however, differs in a number of important respects from other 
recent or contemporary counterparts. Generally speaking, mass ter- 
rorism has been resorted to by ruling classes in modern times only 
to safeguard a regime from imminent danger of destruction or to 
paralyze and wreak vengeance upon those who have temporarily 
succeeded in depriving an elite of its property and power. The "Reign 
of Terror" in the French Revolution began when foreign invasion 
and internal revolt, engineered by the former privileged classes, 
threatened to bring about the overthrow of the revolutionary regime. 
The slaughter of the Paris Communards of 1871 followed a bloody 
civil war in which an embittered and pitiless bourgeoisie triumphed 
over a rebellious and ruthless proletariat. In the Russian Revolution, 
the "Red Terror," as a procedure of systematic and indiscriminate 
massacre of the former propertied classes, was inaugurated only after 
Uritsky and Volodarsky had been assassinated, Lenin had been shot, 
and the Soviet had been assailed from all points of the compass by 
domestic insurrection and foreign invasion. The "White Terror" was 
the tool of the former ruling classes to punish their expropriators and 
regain their privileges. The savage mass persecution of Communists, 
Socialists, Jews, and workers by the Hungarian terrorists of Horthy 
in 1919 followed upon a temporarily successful Bolshevist revolution. 
These extenuating circumstances, if they be such, have not been 
present in Germany, nor in any other Fascist dictatorship. The beat- 
ings and murders of Marxists in Italy in 1922-5 and the slaughter of 
Vienna workers in February 1934 were acts of frightened and sadistic 
ruling groups who were at no time seriously threatened by foreign 
war or by organized revolutionary opposition. The victims of terror 
in the Third Reich have not been members of menacing opposition 
groups. Liberals bent their necks to the Nazi yoke without a murmur. 
Social Democracy was putty before Hitler's knife. Communism was 
almost equally helpless. The NSDAP did not save Germany from 
an imminent Communist revolution, nor did it at any time encounter 
opposition from the KPD of such a character as to threaten its firm 
grip on the machinery of government. The allegation that Nazi ruth- 
lessness prevented Communist revolt is unconvincing. Communism, 
like liberalism and Social Democracy, collapsed from forces within 
itself. The Nazi revolution, to the disgust of Spengler and of many 
of the storm troopers, was a victory won against enemies who could 


not or would not lift a finger in their own defence. There were no 
strikes, no street fighting, no barricades, no rebellions, no assassina- 
tions of public officials, no foreign war, no visible threat of any kind 
to the undisputed authority of the dictators. And yet there was a 

As a result of these circumstances the Nazi terror assumed a pecul- 
iar character all its own. The frequently boasted bloodlessness of the 
revolution was due to no lack of ruthlessness on the part of the leaders 
of the NSDAP, but only to the fact that no organized groups exposed 
themselves to danger. In no recorded instance did even a dozen Com- 
munists (or a thousand courage is easier in crowds) take up arms 
or act concertedly against the Nazis. There were no mobs to shoot 
down and no victims for mass executions. This situation was a tribute 
not to Nazi mercy, but to the genius of the propagandists who had 
so completely demoralized the enemy and to the Nazi leaders who 
took such care that every conceivable agency of coercion should be in 
their hands. Hungry men in rags, who have had all fight taken out 
of them by the insidious pressure of mass suggestion and by betrayal 
at the hands of their own leaders, do not defy automatics and ma- 
chine-guns in the hands of police, storm troopers, and soldiers. 

The terror, therefore, was less a political weapon against foes than 
a channel for the discharge of the long-accumulated aggressions of 
the many botched and bungled personalities who had flocked to the 
swastika banner. These men and their highest leaders, unlike many 
terrorists (cf. Fouchet, Djerzhinsky, Noskc, and even Horthy), had 
long extolled brutality and bloodshed as virtuous. Their psychic inse- 
curities, their neurotic guilt-feelings, their intolerable sense of inferi- 
ority and oppression compelled them to worship "strength," to con- 
found strength with symptoms of its absence, and to seek scapegoats 
for their woes. The sadism of many S.A. men sprang from the same 
sources as anti-Semitism, anti-pacifism, anti-rationalism and the 
cult of war, heroism, and endless goose-stepping. These men had been 
punished wounded, tormented, twisted, and warped by the unkind 
forces of defeat, depression, and collapse. Where there is punishment, 
there must be sin and guilt, for God, after all, is just. Guilt demands 
expiation. The pattern leads in two possible directions : to abject hu- 
miliation, masochistic ascetism, sackcloth and ashes to appease the 
wrath of the Almighty; or to the transfer of the guilt to others and 


the sadistic infliction of punishment on scapegoats. The liberals and 
Socialists of Weimar took the first road, the Nationalists and reac- 
tionaries the second. 

Once "war guilt" was repudiated, reason suggested that the victors 
of 1918 and the makers of Versailles were the authors of Germany's 
ills. Rational beha.viour would aim at a "war of liberation'* in which 
the vanquished should become victors. This motif was ever present in 
the NSDAP, as in other nationalist circles. But the victors were too 
powerful to be attacked. Rage must vent itself irrationally elsewhere. 
Nazi terrorists tortured and killed literally for the sake of torturing 
and killing that is, for the subjective satisfactions, the inner release 
of tensions which these activities afforded. Every terror tends to 
bring into positions of power men of this type. But the NSDAP was 
organized and led by such personalities. Terrorism was not a polit- 
ical necessity, but a psychological compulsion. The victims were but 
incidental instruments of self-gratification upon whose bodies in- 
verted Nazi egoism could recover sanity and security. 

This thesis can be abundantly supported by a consideration of the 
personality structures of many of the Nazi leaders. Dcr Fiihrcr and 
his aides did not personally indulge in torturing and killing. For 
them vicarious gratification sufficed for the frustrated, embittered 
Hitler; for the brutalized drug victim, Goring; for the crippled 
and disappointed literary hack, Goebbcls; for the pederast Rohm; 
for the emigre Rosenberg; for the half-blind Himmler; for the 
wounded Hess. These pathetic victims of the traumas of the 
trenches and of the physical and psychic lesions of post-war collapse 
became symbols of national frustration and neurosis. Their sub- 
ordinates were often criminals and perverts for whom vicarious 
sadism was insufficient. Such men as Paul Schulze and Edmund 
Heincs were confessed murderers. Count Hclldorf and scores of 
other Gauleiters and Gntppenfiihrers were social outcasts seeking 
revenge on a society which had denied their importance. Manfred 
von Killinger, later Nazi Premier of Saxony, boasted of how he had 
ordered a Communist agitator torn to pieces by a hand-grenade dur- 
ing the suppression of the Munich Soviet and how he had had a girl 
horsewhipped until she was bloody and unconscious. 1 The rabid 
Niirnberg fanatic Julius Streicher is equally in his glory when he can 
accuse rabbis of sucking blood from Aryan babies and can himself 

1 Ernstcs und Hcitcrcs aits dcm Pt4tschlcbcn t pp. 13-15. 


gratify his bestiality upon his victims: 

"I went with several party members into Steinruck's cell [Dr. 
Steinruck, whom Streicher had taken into 'protective custody'] and 
took a look at the wretch. He began to talk with a weeping voice and 
acted like a schoolboy. He did not act like the man one expected after 
his big talk. Thereupon I gave him a good beating with my whip." * 

Such attitudes and patterns of behaviour are by no means excep- 
tional among the outstanding figures of the NSDAP, to say nothing 
of the rank and file of the S.A. and S.S. They manifested themselves 
in the spring of 1933 in a widespread campaign of sadism and terror- 
ization. The terror was curiously secretive and underground, with 
apparently no particular plan and no publicity. To the superficial 
observer, life in German cities went on as before, serene and undis- 
turbed in its smug complacency. There were no mass executions and 
no official admission at any time that any terror existed. Rumours 
whispered from mouth to mouth were more effective than proclama- 
tions. Actual killings were kept at a minimum, since a victim who 
was only tortured could live to be tortured again, whereas there was 
nothing to do with a corpse save bury it. Stories of mutilation and 
torment, moreover, instil more fear than tales of simple death. 

Any effort here to detail the thousands of scattered episodes which 
constituted the terror would be pointless. The basic facts are well 
authenticated. 2 Only the general pattern need be suggested. Ordina- 
rily the victim was arrested late at night by storm troopers who broke 
into his home; he was sometimes beaten at once in the presence of 
his family and sometimes dragged off immediately and not heard of 
for days or weeks. Amid curses and blows he was taken to some 
concealed basement dungeon, offering no evidence to passers-by of 
its function. He was here often obliged to run a gauntlet of S.A. men 
armed with whips or sticks. He was then questioned and compelled, 
if possible, to divulge the names and whereabouts of his "confeder- 
ates" and made to pray, "Heil Hitler!' 9 or sing the Horst Wessel 
Lied. Next followed, in many cases, his transfer to a near-by room, 
where, in a half-light, he beheld bruised and bleeding bodies thrown 
on straw, stinking of blood and sweat, and heard the groans of those 
who had preceded him. Sometimes he was told that he would be 

1 Public address in Niirnbcrg, October 14, 1934, as reported in The New York Times, 
October 15, 1934. 

2 See the hundreds of documented cases in The Brown Boo% of the Hitler Terror 
(New York: Knopf; 1933). 


shot immediately or at dawn. More frequently the victim was stood 
up against a wall and fired upon by S.A. men, who took care, how- 
ever, not to wound him too seriously. Then followed castor oil and 
prolonged pommelling on tables with fists, boots, clubs, or whips. 
When reduced to unconsciousness, the guest was revived with pails 
of cold water and beaten again. 

The more delicate forms of torture, employing hot irons, racks, 
thumb-screws, and other mechanical devices, were usually eschewed 
in favour of those requiring violent physical exertion on the part of 
the administrators. Healthy exercise furnishes a more adequate re- 
lease for tensions than mere passive contemplation, however enjoy- 
able, of the torments of the condemned. At the end the victim might 
be thrown out into the street, sent to a jail or concentration camp, or 
transferred to a hospital or morgue, depending upon his condition and 
the fancy of his captors. Sometimes he came back to his family a 
broken wreck, sometimes he never reappeared. 

Only in rare instances was any opposition encountered. To cite 
one, on June 21, 1933, S.A. men twice searched the house of the trade- 
union secretary Schmaus, in Kopenick (Berlin). During the night 
they came again, arrested Schmaus's son-in-law, and fired shots. 
Schmaus's son returned the fire and mortally wounded two storm 
troopers. The rest then shot the son-in-law, arrested the son and beat 
him to death, and so abused the mother that she died shortly after- 
wards. The father was found hanged a day later. 1 That night numer- 
ous Marxists were arrested in the neighbourhood, including Johannes 
Stelling, Socialist member of the Reichstag, Reichsbarmer leader, and 
former Premier of Mecklenburg. All were beaten almost to insensi- 
bility. Stelling's mutilated body, sewn up in a sack, was later fished 
out of the Finow Canal. A dozen other men were done to death in 
similar fashion. 2 

This technique, or variants of it, was perfected by long practice. 3 

1 V.B. and Berliner Tageblatt, June 22-3, 1933, w ^ * course only a bare account 
of the shooting and "suicide." 

2 The New Yor^ Times, July 29, 1933, 

3 "It was a fascinating though fearful thing to observe the growth of this atmosphere 
of terror. The writer had previously had the experience of living in a land where 
terror was well established and a normal part of life. But here he was to sec terror 
develop and to observe it lay its hand on men. Trotsky, the advocate of the theory of 
'Permanent Revolution,* has said that revolutions destroy men. Never were truer 
words spoken, if one speaks of revolutions with a concomitant of terror. For tcrmr 
does indeed consume the characters of men. One of the commonest of human rcac- 


It was followed by trials and by death sentences against numerous 
Communists. A study of recorded cases suggests 'that executions by 
judicial command got under way on an extensive scale in the summer 
and autumn, whereas sporadic beatings and murders were more 
numerous in the spring. In Prussia and in some other states beheading 
was substituted for hanging, on the ground that the broadax was the 
ancient German mode of inflicting the death penalty. The new skill 
was not always acquired immediately by the executioner: 

"The Mittagszeitung (Vienna) publishes an alleged detail eye- 
witness account of the execution of six Communist workmen con- 
demned for a murder in the courtyard of Klingelpeutz Prison in 
Cologne on November 30. The guillotine, the usual instrument of 
execution in the Rhineland, which owes most of its legal system to 
the Code Napoleon, has been abolished as un-German and has been 
replaced by the medieval executioner with his ax. At dawn, accord- 
ing to the account, the six condemned men, with shaven heads, were 
led to a table beside the scaffold where the public prosecutor sat and 
he told them that His Excellency General Goring had refused a 
pardon. All the accused protested their innocence and said they 
were victims of perjury by Nazi witnesses at their trial. They de- 
clared it was not they but Nazis who l^id been the aggressors last 
February when the Nazi for whose death they had been sentenced 
was killed. The executioner beheaded each of the first three men 
with one blow of his ax. Then he appeared to lose his nerve. Three 
blows were necessary to decapitate the fourth, and two for the fifth. 
The last, however, was beheaded with one blow." * 

These are but random episodes out of hundreds reported. Behead- 
ing was but one means of dispatching "enemies of the State." An- 
other technique which was widely employed, even under the 
republic, was the simple murder of prisoners later reported to be 
"suicides" or "shot trying to escape." On March 12, 1933, at Felge- 
leben, near Magdeburg, the Socialist Councillor Kresse was arrested 

tions to it is the attempt to save one's soul from the consciousness of submission to 
force by trying to identify oneself in some way with the power which exercises the 
terror. Thus the Nationalists were to attempt to build a bridge for conscience to Na- 
tional Socialism by saying to themselves that after all it was strongly nationalist. So- 
cialists and even Communists tried to build the bridge for their conscience by telling 
themselves that after all it was socialist." Calvin B. Hoover: Germany Enters the 
Third Reich, p. 119. 
1 The New Yor% Times, December 9, 1933. 


by the police and, after an altercation, shot through the head 
("suicide") by S.A. men. 1 Another man, found burned to death in 
a barrel of tar, was also reported a "suicide." 2 On April 4, 1933, the 
Communist official Heinz Easier was arrested in Diisseldorf and 
killed "while seeking to escape." 3 On March 6, 1933, a working 
woman of Selbe, Bavaria, the mother of two children, was accosted 
in the street by an S.A. man and fatally shot through the throat. 
Her son and her husband were arrested. Otto Eggerstedt, war vet- 
eran, former police chief of Altona and Socialist member of the 
Reichstag, was shot to death on October 16, 1933, by frontier guards 
after fleeing the Kapendorf concentration camp. On February i, 
1934, four Communists, including John Scheer, deputy in the 
Prussian Landtag, were escorted by Secret Police from Berlin to 
Potsdam after Alfred Kattner, star witness of the prosecution against 
Ernst Thalmann, had been murdered by an unidentified assailant. 
All four were killed "while trying to escape." 4 On March 28, 1934, 
Dr. Ludwig Marum, Jewish-Socialist lawyer and former Minister 
of Justice in Baden, was found hanged in his cell. "A good job," 
commented Streicher's Der Sturmer (April 26, 1934). 

There were, of course, many actual suicides in concentration 
camps, and a large numb^ outside. On a single day, May 6, 1933, 
the following notables took their lives: Ernst Oberfohren; the Mayor 
of Leer; a democratic alderman of Stuttgart; Frau Nellie Neppach, 
woman tennis champion of Germany, who had brooded over the 
effects of the Aryan clause on her friends; Frau Katz (Scheidcmann's 
daughter) and her husband. Hitler in his speeches has referred fre- 
quently to the large number of suicides under the republic, but has 
made no compilation of the number of persons driven to self-destruc- 
tion by Nazi persecution. During the first quarter of 1934 suicides 
in large cities increased 7.1 per cent over the corresponding period 
of 1933, and in towns of less than fifty thousand inhabitants they 
increased 14.5 per cent. In March 1934 the American National Com- 
mittee to Aid Victims of German Fascism published figures com- 
piled by a Paris group presided over by Andre Gide. According to 
this estimate, 67 political prisoners were officially executed between 
January i and October i, 1933; 3,000 more were murdered, 119,000 

1 TU Dispatch, March 14. 

2 V.B., April 25, 1933. 

*Dcr Angriff, April 5, 1933; cf. Brown Book,, pp. 313-16. 

4 Borscn Zcitung, February 2, 1934. 


were wounded and 174,000 were jailed. These estimates were de- 
clared in Germany to be so "senseless" and obviously "hateful" that 
no reply to them was necessary. 1 

That scores of thousands have been arrested admits of no doubt. 
Some have been tried and sentenced to jail. Others, without trials 
and often without charges, have been incarcerated in concentration 
camps. The victims ranged from simple workmen and peasants to 
former chancellors of the republic. On June 29, 1933, Gustav Bauer, 
Chancellor in 1919-20, was arrested for "emblezzlement." Five of 
Scheidemann's relatives were imprisoned about the same time, in 
retaliation for articles which he had written abroad. Again, random 
samples from thousands of cases are illuminating. On September 8, 
1933, Johannes Gommert, a labourer, was sentenced to five years in 
prison for making disparaging remarks about the Niirnberg con- 
vention. On September 18, 25 Communists were arrested in Wanne- 
Eickel and 76 in Lauterberg and vicinity. In Harburg-Wilhelmsburg 
two thousand houses were searched by the police, and many "Com- 
munists" arrested. In mid-November an instructor at the University 
of Giessen, who had joined the S.A., was sent to a concentration camp 
for making critical remarks; two Jewish merchants of Beueren 
were incarcerated "for their own protection from threatening villag- 
ers"; and two travellers who expressed a desire to go to Russia, 
"where things are better," were sent to a camp. On January 16, 1934, 
Ludwig Renn, author, was sentenced by the Supreme Court to 
thirty months' imprisonment for "preparing high treason." In Feb- 
ruary Lieutenant Richard Scheringer, former Nazi and later a 
Communist, was arrested in Munich and sent to jail. A Saxon court 
early in March sentenced 39 Socialists to jail for from six months 
to two years for circulating copies of the new Vorwarts, published 
in Prague. At the same time the wife and nineteen-month-old 
daughter of Gerhart Seger, Socialist Reichstag member who escaped 
to Czechoslovakia from the Oranienburg concentration camp, were 
sent to a camp near Dessau pending the surrender of the fugitive. 
They were later released under pressure from members of the British 

, /The "concentration camps" have from the beginning been a con- 
spicuous feature of the Nazi penal system. In June 1933, perhaps 
forty thousand out of a possible total of sixty thousand political 

1 V.B., March 27, 1934. 


prisoners were held in camps in "protective custody." There were 
some forty-five such camps in the summer of 1933, or perhaps as 
many as a hundred, according to some estimates. Prisoners were 
ordinarily divided into categories of "harmless," "convertible," and 
"inconvertible." The first two groups, while obliged to live in primi- 
tive barracks and to engage in hard labour and military drill on scant 
rations, are usually not maltreated. The remainder are often victims 
of sadistic S.A. guards. Most prisoners are sent to camps for an 
indefinite term and released when they have been "converted" or 
are regarded as no longer dangerous. There is good reason to believe 
that in the autumn of 1933 and again in the summer of 1934 a large 
proportion of the prisoners in many camps were insubordinate storm 

Official statements regarding the camps have been contradictory 
and unreliable. In reply to a report that a hundred thousand political 
prisoners were under restraint in Germany, the Prussian government 
announced in July 1933 that there were 18,000 prisoners in the entire 
Reich, of whom 12,000 had been arrested by the Prussian State Secret 
Police. In October it was asserted that 22,000 offenders were being 
held. On March i, 1934, the Secret Police announced that the number 
had been reduced to 7,50o*On March 9, 1934, Rudolf Diels told the 
Foreign Press Association that some 30,000 persons had passed 
through the camps, of whom 9,000 remained, including 200 women. 
He declared that at first most of the prisoners were Socialists and 
Communists, but that more recently monarchists were appearing in 
greater numbers. The work of "conversion" had progressed favour- 
ably. "We had intended maintaining the camps for ten years. Now 
I believe we shall be able to liquidate them in two years." On April 
21 Goring declared that the number of political prisoners was 6,000 
or 7,000. Thus, within seven weeks, official estimates of the number 
of inmates ranged from 6,000 to 9,000. A thirty per cent margin of 
error is too great to admit of any of these figures being trustworthy. 

In any case, the tempo of terrorism was gradually relaxed between 
June 1933 and June 1934. On August 15 the S.A. auxiliary police, 
which had been largely responsible for the more brutal forms of 
violence, was disbanded. Many prisoners in concentration camps 
were freed in the autumn. The number of camps was sharply re- 
duced in Berlin from fourteen in June to two in October: Oranien- 
burg and Sonnenburg. Some 5,000 prisoners, including Paul Lobe, 


were released early in December. Karl Severing and Fritz Ebert, Jr., 
not only were released, but had their pension rights restored. In 
March 1934 the Sonnenburg camp was "closed," and it was an- 
nounced that only 2,800 prisoners remained in the Prussian camps, 
though Goring gave a figure for political offenders almost twice as 
high a month later, suggesting that many individuals in camps had 
been transferred to prisons. In April the mistreatment of prisoners 
was forbidden and certain guards were even punished for their sa- 
distic proclivities. On September i, 1934, Goring released 742 prisoners 
in Prussia and "abolished" the Oranienburg concentration camp. 
In the future, it was said, political prisoners would be tried by the 
regular civil courts, though "exceptionally dangerous" individuals 
might still be placed in "protective custody." It appears improbable 
that the types of repression characteristic of the early months of the 
dictatorship will again be resorted to. In future crises more drastic 
measures not involving torture and imprisonment are likely to be 
taken. The Oranienburg and Sonnenburg camps, however, are still 
functioning as S.S. camps. In October 1934 the Prussian Ministry of 
Justice announced that the total number of prison inmates had in- 
creased from 32,525 in 1931 to 56,928 in 1933. The average daily 
number of prisoners in camps during 1933 was set at 18,000. 

While enemies were being punished, friends were rewarded. All 
imprisoned Nazis, save those under sentence for "private" crimes, 
were released in the spring of 1933. Even the vicious Potempa mur- 
derers were pardoned by Hitler on March 19. The assassins of Erz- 
berger were pardoned on April 10, since the new Weltanschauung 
made the murder of republican leaders a virtue. The slayers of 
Rathenau, unfortunately, were dead. But they were nevertheless 
honoured. On July 17, 1933, at Saalek Castle in Thuringia, where 
they had committed suicide, a memorial tablet was dedicated: "Here 
died, fighting for Germany, July 17, 1922, our comrades, Naval 
Lieutenant Erwin Kern and Lieutenant Hermann Fischer of the 
Ehrhart Brigade." 

Captain Ehrhart himself unveiled the tablet, amid impressive 
ceremonies attended by throngs of S.A. and S.S. men, as well as by 
many civilian patriots. Rohm praised the "glorious deed" of the 
assassins, and Himmler asserted: "Without the deed of these two, 
Germany today would be living under a Bolshevist regime. Let it 
be realized that, irrespective of civil law, neither one's own nor 


other's blood must be spared when the Fatherland's fate is at stake." * 
Of other's blood the S.S. leader had never been sparing. He was to 
be even less so in the future. 


WHILE much of the terrorism of 1933 represented the sporadic and 
unsystematized activities of storm troopers, the German passion for 
Ordnung and Hitler's passion for "legality" required that measures 
of repression be dignified with the forms of law and that govern- 
mental agencies be expressly authorized to act against "enemies of 
the State." Nazi legislation directed against political offenders is far 
too large in sheer bulk to be reviewed here. But it may be noted that 
the more important federal decrees began by authorizing the Min- 
ister of the Interior to prohibit political meetings and to impose fines 
and prison sentences for parading or wearing uniforms other than 
S.A., S.S., and Stahlhelm. The suppression and confiscation of printed 
matter was also authorized. 2 The memorable Article 48 was invoked 
after the Reichstag fire to justify the suppression of all personal liber- 
ties and the substitution of the death penalty, with confiscation of 
property, for life imprisonment. 3 On March 21 penalties were pro- 
vided for the unauthorized wearing of uniforms and for the circula- 
tion of statements harmful to the regime. 4 On October 13 life 
imprisonment was provided for incitements or attempts to kill 
officials, judges, jurors, soldiers, sailors, policemen, members of the 
S.A., S.S., Stahlhelm, and the Luftsportverband, and also for the 
circulation abroad or introduction into the Reich of treasonable 
printed matter. 5 Other laws authorized the confiscation of property 

1 The New York Times, July 18, 1933. 

Z R.G.B., 1933, Vol. I, No. 8 (February 4), p. 35. 

3 Ibid., Vol. I, No. 17 (February 28), p. 83: "Restrictions of personal liberty, of the 

right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press, of association, ami 

of assembly, interference with letters, mail, telegraph and telephone secrets, orders to 

search houses and to confiscate as well as restrict property beyond existing Ic^al limits 

are permissible. . . . The crimes which under the Criminal Code arc punishable with 

penitentiary for life arc to be punished by death, i.e., high treason, poisoning, arson, 

explosions, floods, damage to railroad properties, and general poisoning." Death, life 

imprisonment, or incarceration for fifteen years was also provided for attempts on the 

life of public officials, for rioting or disturbing the public peace with arms, and for 

political kidnapping. 

4/?.<7J3., 1933, Vol. I, No. 24, p. 135. 

Mbid., Vol. I, No. 112, p. 723. 


of public enemies, first of Communists * and later of Socialists and 
others. 2 

Repressive legislation was enforcible by the regular police and the 
ordinary courts. But the traditions of German police authorities and 
judges were not such as to ensure the desired degree of terror. Emer- 
gency courts were established in March 1933. Goring strove mightily 
to instil severity into his Prussian police. He expelled all Socialists 
and liberals from the force and supplemented it with the auxiliary 
S.A. police. He made energetic efforts to ensure that "barbaric ruth- 
lessness" promised by Der Fiihrer. On March 10, at a meeting in 
Essen, he said: "I would rather shoot a few times too short or too 
wide, but at any rate I would shoot." For all shootings he assumed 
full responsibility. "If you call that murder, then I am a murderer. 
Everything has been ordered by me. ... It was only natural that 
in the beginning excesses were committed. It was natural that here 
and there beatings took place; there were some cases of brutality.*' 3 

But since the regular police were not sufficiently addicted to "natu- 
ralness" and brutality, and since even the purged IA (political) police 
division was still useless for his purposes, Goring created on April 27 
a new "State Secret Police" (Gehelme Staatspolizei or Gestapo). 
The new agency was placed directly under Goring' s control, with its 
headquarters in Berlin. 4 Rudolf Diels, though not a Nazi, became 
head of the Gestapo. He was vice-president of the Berlin police de- 
partment and under Severing had specialized in rooting out Com- 
munist activities. The Gestapo functioned efficiently throughout the 
spring and summer and became one of the pillars of Goring's per- 
sonal power. On December i, 1933, it was made an independent 
branch of the Prussian administration. Goring henceforth supervised 
it in his capacity of Prussian Premier, not as Prussian Minister of the 
Interior. Diels became "Inspector" of the Gestapo and head of the 
new office. All local police were made subject to his orders. 5 In April 
Diels tendered his resignation because of "ill health," though 

Mind., Vol. I, No. 55 (May 26), p. 29}. 

2 Ibid., Vol. I, No. 8 1 (July 14), p. .179. Translations of these decrees arc to be found 
in J. K. Pollock and II. J. Hcncman: The Hitler Decree*. 

3 Hermann Curing: Germany Rehorn, pp. 125 and 129. 
4 P.G., 1933. No. 29, p. 122. 

r> Ibid., No. 74, p. 41 $: "To the sphere of activities of the State Secret Police belongs 
all business of the political police which was taken care of by the officials of the general 
and internal administration. The particular functions to be taken over by the State 
Secret Police are left to the decision of the Premier." 


possibly because of friction with dissident S.A. leaders whom he was 
called upon to watch for evidences of treasonable activities. 1 He 
became head of the government of Cologne. 

On April 20, 1934, the Gestapo was co-ordinated with the S.S. by 
the appointment of Heinrich Himmler as leader of all the Prussian 
political police. At the same time Goring united all the political 
police forces of the various states under Himmler's direction. 2 The 
new chief had been a soldier, a freebooter, a member of the Reichs- 
kriegsflagge, and a participant in the putsch of 1923. He declared 
that the members of his force must regard themselves as soldiers. 
"There are still thousands and tens of thousands who remain enemies, 
even though they raise their arms and are gleichgeschaltet. . . . Our 
task is heavy, but in confidence of our victory we shall proceed with 
our work in faith and comradeship. Be assured, Herr Ministerprasi- 
dent, that we shall do our duty to the end." 3 

In spite of the general disposition of German courts to serve the 
political purposes of the dictatorship, there was increasing dissatis- 
faction among party leaders with the administration of justice. 
Vestiges of impartiality apparently remained. The decision of the 
Supreme Court in the Reichstag fire trial was denounced in the 
Nazi press as a gross miscarriage of justice. Since all of the defend- 
ants were Communists, they should obviously have been beheaded 
on general principles. Even more serious was the action of the court 
on March 2, 1934. For technical reasons, it overruled the death sen- 
tences passed by a criminal court in Dessau on the ten Communists 
who had witnessed the murder of a storm trooper. 

Disgust at such evidences of liberalism prompted the creation, on 
April 24, of a new "People's Court" (Voll^sgerichtshoj) to deal with 
treason cases. Under the new law a tribunal of five members, not 
bound by legal technicalities, would be appointed by the Chancellor. 
Only the presiding officer and one judge would be regular judicial 
officials. The other three might be chosen from among persons 
"with special experience in fighting off attacks directed against the 
State." The announcement of the law on May 2 followed a small fire 
in Augsburg and the arrest of seventy-three persons as alleged in- 
cendiaries. The death penalty was provided for the betrayal of mili- 

New York Times, April 16, 1934. 
2 V.B., April 21, 1934. 
8 V.B., April 21, 19^4. 


tary or other State secrets, for efforts to detach any part of the Reich 
or deliver it to a foreign power, for hampering the army or police, 
and for conspiring with foreign governments to cause war or an 
application of force against the Reich. Sentences at hard labour were 
provided for "atrocity mongers." 1 The new tribunal was subse- 
quently enlarged to twelve professional and twenty lay judges, in- 
cluding five S.A. leaders, and was sworn in by Giirtner on July 14, 
1934. It was given exclusive jurisdiction over treason and sedition 
cases. It was anticipated that rebellious S.A. men, as well as leading 
Marxists still in custody, such as Thalmann and Torgler, would be 
tried here. The court announced the imposition of a number of death 
sentences in October, but the proceedings and the identity of the 
victims were kept secret. 

The first step in the evolution of the judicial system of the Third 
Reich was the identification of the NSDAP with the State and the 
punishment of offences against the party as crimes against the State. 
If the regular courts are remiss here, the People's Court will act. 
The second step has been to make the party greater than the State 
and to punish offences against the State as offences against the 
NSDAP. The spirit of the new jurisprudence was adequately stated 
by Goring in an address of July 12, 193^ before the prosecutors of 
Prussia, in which he explained the bloody events of June 30: 

"The action of the State leadership in those days was the highest 
realization of the legal consciousness of the people. Now that this 
action, which was legal in itself, has also been formally legalized, no 
authority can claim the right to probe into it. ... 

"We do not recognize the exaggerated dictum that the law must 
prevail, even if everything collapses. We consider as a primary thing 
not the law, but the people. First come the people, and the people 
created for themselves both the law and the State. We are therefore 
free of all formalistic overestimation of the law. . . . 

"Der Fiihrer has expressly emphasized that he considers every at- 
tack and every undermining of the State as an attack and an under- 
mining of Nationalsocialism. Thus it becomes your task, as guardians 
of the law, to defend the State with all means and consider every 
attack against it as an attack against Der Fiihrer. The insecurity 
that existed temporarily until Der Fuhrer acted has been ended. 

* V.B. and The New Yor^ Times, May 3, 1934; K.G.B., 1934, Vol. I, No. 47 (April 
24). P- .541. 


Now it is the task of the judiciary to contribute its share to the secu- 
rity of the State. . . . 

"I have clearly said to you that the rule of the law must be assured. 
There can be only one concept of the law: namely, the one laid down 
by Der Fiihrer. . . . The law and the will of Der Fiihrer are one." * 


ANOTHER familiar device of dictatorships is censorship and control 
of the press. In its extreme form, as exemplified in the U.S.S.R., this 
technique involves the complete suppression of all newspapers and 
periodicals save those issued by the government, the party, or affili- 
ated organizations. In the Third Reich this end-point has not yet 
been reached. All Marxist papers, as well as some Centrist organs, 
were suppressed in the spring of 1935. But in general the great metro- 
politan dailies were rigidly censored and "co-ordinated" rather than 

This agreeable task was entrusted to Dr. Gocbbels, who had al- 
ready had extensive experience in reviling the "gutter press" in his 
own journal, Der Angriff. The editorial and news staffs of all papers 
were vigorously gleichgeschaltet by the discharge of Jews and Marx- 
ists and by the appointment of Nazis to responsible supervisory 
positions. As a further precaution, local censors were appointed in 
each office, subject to control and veto by the central censor. The 
entire contents of every paper must be approved before it can go to 
press. If the local censor makes an error, in the judgment of the 
Propagandaministerium, the edition in question is suppressed. The 
morning edition of the Berliner Tageblatt of September 13, 1933, 
for example, contained headlines noting that in the Evangelical 
Church synod the Nazi supporters of Reichsbishop Miiller had 
threatened the opposition with concentration camps. The local cen- 
sor approved, but Goebbels decided that the sensibilities of the public 
in such a delicate matter must be protected. The edition in question 
was confiscated and the local censor discharged. For Goebbels the 
joys of purifying the press and protecting the public are doubtless 
comparable to the gratifications which less subtle souls derive from 
torture and murder. 2 

1 The New Yor% Times, July 13, 1934. 

2 On the psychology of censorship, sec Fcdor Vcrgin: Das Unbctvttsste Euro pa, pp. 


For the purpose of completing the co-ordination of the press and 
systematizing the mass of regulations already issued, a general Reich 
Press Law was promulgated on October 4, I933- 1 This statute made 
journalism a "public vocation," regulated by law. It covered news- 
papers and political periodicals, with the definition of the adjective 
in doubtful cases to be made by the Minister of Propaganda. Seven 
qualifications were laid down for editors: German citizenship; full 
possession of civic and political rights; Aryan descent and, if wedded, 
marriage to an Aryan; twenty-one years of age; "competence"; 
professional training; and the "qualifications required for the intel- 
lectual influencing of public opinion." Thus no alien, no Jew, no 
German married to a Jew, and no persons judged incompetent or 
disqualified by Goebbels may become an editor. Admission to the 
vocation is by licensed registration, with the state organizations 
of the press subject to the supervision and veto of the Propaganda 
Minister and to such exceptions as he may make. Rejected petition- 
ers may appeal to the court for the settlement of vocational disputes. 
Editors are forbidden to publish anything which "confuses selfish 
with common interests in a manner misleading to the public"; 
weakens "the strength of the German nation nationally or interna- 
tionally, the will toward unity of the Geonan nation, German defen- 
sive ability, German culture, or German business, or that injures 
the religious feelings of others"; anything "offensive to the honour 
and dignity of a German, illegally injuring the honour or the well- 
being of another person, hurting his reputation, or making him 
ridiculous or despicable"; and anything that "is for other reasons 
indecent." 2 It is interesting to note that if these provisions had been 
in force in the pre-Hitler epoch, Der Angriff, the Vol^ischer Beo- 
bachter, and almost the entire Nazi press would have been sup- 
pressed on all grounds specified. 

The law further declared that all editors must join the National 
Association of the German Press. Its director is appointed by the 
Propaganda Minister and draws up rules subject to his approval. 
The association is divided into state associations. It maintains voca- 
tional courts for the press, district press courts, and an appellate 
Supreme Court of the Press in Berlin, for the purpose of settling 
disputes between editors. It provides for their training and welfare. 

1R.G.B., 1933, Vol. I, No. in, p. 713. 

2 Part III, Section 14, of the Reich Press Law. 


It assesses membership dues, which are collected like taxes. The 
chairmen of the courts and their assistants, consisting of publishers 
and editors in equal number, are appointed by Goebbels. All persons 
engaging in editorial activities while not registered or while tem- 
porarily forbidden to work are fined or imprisoned up to one year. 
Publishers employing banned persons are fined or jailed up to three 
months. Fines, jail sentences, and other penalties are provided for 
"bribery" or "coercion" of the press, both broadly defined. 

Goebbels appointed Otto Dietrich, leader of the Press Division 
of the NSDAP, as head of the National Association (Rcichsverband 
der deutschen Presse). In an address of October 4 to the Association, 
Goebbels declared: 

"Liberty of intellect must be limited when opinion conflicts with 
the interests of the nation. The present government is perhaps not 
always right, but no better government is conceivable. If the journal- 
ists say that our press is too uniform, it is not our fault. I cannot 
be responsible if newspapers which once were opposed to us are 
now more papal than the Pope. . . . 

"The concept of the absolute freedom of the press is definitely liber- 
alistic and proceeds not from the people in its entirety, but from the 
individual. . . . The more .freedom of opinion that is conceded to 
an individual, the more it can harm the interests of an entire people. 
The conception of freedom of opinion, in its absolute overestimate, 
has been badly shaken throughout the world. The German press 
hereafter must be single-minded in will and many-sided in express- 
ing its will." 1 

Other regulations have followed from time to time. On November 
i, 1933, all papers were required to publish their circulation figures 
daily. All new papers and periodicals carrying advertising were re- 
quired to secure a special government permit. The Wolf! Telegraph 
Agency and the Telegraphen Union, owned by Hugenberg, were 
both subjected to rigid control and censorship. Their revenues were 
sharply reduced by the censorship on all news and by the monoto- 
nous uniformity of the resulting product. On December 13 the Reich 
Press Chamber, a division of the Reich Culture Chamber, forbade 
the establishment of new papers and periodicals until March 31, 
1934. Its head, Max Amann, appealed for greater variety and de- 
plored "the present far-reaching uniformity of the press, which is 

1 Berliner Ta%cblatt> October 5, 1933. 


not a product of government measures and does not conform to the 
will of the government." * 

All Marxists and all Jews, save front-line war veterans, were barred 
from journalistic activity after January i, 1934, though workers on 
Jewish papers, editors married to Jewesses prior to October 4, and 
Jewish printers, advertising men, and scientific and technical workers 
were exempted from this ban. 2 On New Year's Eve, Wilhelm Weiss, 
president of the National Association of Journalists, hailed the new 

"The life of the nation shall no longer be allowed, as formerly, to 
be the object of the sensational journalism of shrewd business men. 

"The journalist in the new Reich has accepted his work in the 
sense of a spiritual call that gives him justice, but also places upon 
him deep responsibilities. . . . Let us enter our work in full grati- 
tude for the new State and its Nazi leadership, which gave the Ger- 
man journalist the freedom of his inner consciousness the first to 
give him this gift and make him the richest and most distinguished 
journalist in the world." 3 

The new dispensation produced interesting results. As early as 
April 9, 1933, Hans Lackmann-Mosse, owner of the Berliner Tage- 
blatt, was forced to resign and surrender his interest in this once 
world-famous liberal journal to a committee appointed by Goebbels. 
The house of Ullstein, founded in 1877 likewise Jewish and, along 
with Mosse and Scherle (Hugenberg), one of the three greatest 
newspaper concerns in Germany was also forced to relinquish 
control early in November. It published four papers in Berlin: the 
Morgenpost, the Berliner Allgemeine Zeitung, the Berliner Zeitung 
am Mittag, and the Vossische Zeitung, as well as the weeklies : Griine 
Post and Berliner lllustrierte Zeitung , each with a circulation of over 
a million. It also maintained an independent news service covering 
all central Europe, a travel bureau, and a large book-publishing 
plant, which issued, among other works, the memoirs of Biilow and 
Stresemann and All Quiet on the Western Front, translated into 
twenty-eight languages and a best-seller throughout the world. All 
"non-Aryan" subordinate executives and editors were forced out in 
the spring and summer of 1933 by a Nazi strike. After November 2 

1 Thf New York Times, December 14, 1933. 

2 Decree of the Ministries of Propaganda, Interior, and Justice, December 20, 1933. 
8 The New Yor^ Times, December 31, 1933. 


two sons, Franz and Karl, remained in executive positions, but the 
family was compelled to relinquish its majority stock. On June 9, 
1934, it was forced to surrender all its stock as a result of pressure 
from the Eher firm, of which Max Amann is a director, and from 
other Nazi journalists. This final surrender was insisted upon as a 
condition for the reappearance of the Grtine Post, suppressed on 
May 2. Control of the Ullstein enterprises was taken over by a group 
of banks headed by the Deutsche Bank. 1 All non-Aryan owners of 
the Frankfurter Zeitung were forced out in May I934- 2 

Meanwhile many non-Nazi papers were forced into bankruptcy 
and compelled to suspend publication. In October 1933 the Berlin 
Taglische Rundschau disappeared and the Vossische Zeitung re- 
duced its three daily editions to one. At the same time the VM. at- 
tained a circulation of 500,000 and Der Angriff of 100,000. On 
December 31 the Borsen Courier ceased publication. The Vossische 
Zeitung, founded in 1704, with Frederick the Great, Lcssing, Walter 
Rathenau, and Georg Bernard among its contributors, was discon- 
tinued on April i, 1934. The Frankfurter Nachrichten also closed up 
in April. The lost readers of these and other papers, however, did 
not become subscribers to the Nazi press. The deadly monotony of 
all German newspapers led to a great increase in the circulation of 
such foreign papers, especially Austrian and Swiss, as were permitted 
to enter the Reich. The circulation of the V.B., chief organ of a party 
with almost four million members and over forty million supporters, 
fell to 325,000 by March. Der Angriff declined to 94,200 in December, 
68,600 in February, and 60,000 in March. Non-Nazi papers suffered 
even more severely. The Morgenpost, which once had 800,000 read- 
ers, had only 340,000 in February 1934. The Berliner Tageblatt, 
which once had 200,000, fell to 70,000. Between December and April 
1933-4 the total circulation of all Berlin papers declined by more 
than 75,000. 

This disconcerting development led Dr. Goebbels to plead repeat- 
edly for greater interest and variety in the press. The deadening hand 
of the censorship, however, made these pleas futile. Ehm Welke, 
editor of the Grilnc Post, took Dr. Goebbels too literally. In a pub- 
lished appeal to the Propaganda Minister he pointed out, under the 
pseudonym of "Thomas Trimm," that Nazi periodicals were copying 

i-Thc New York Times, June 10, 1934- 
2 Ibid., May 31, 1934. 


the features of the Griine Post and thus contributing to press uni- 
formity, and that wit and irony at the expense of the government 
were now forbidden. He also justified publishing the letter rather 
than appealing directly to Goebbels, on the ground that the Minister 
"lived in a large house with a thousand rooms, in which sit a thou- 
sand men and which also contains a thousand waiting-rooms, wherein 
probably ten thousand men are already waiting." Goebbels at once 
denounced Welke's article as "one continuous and irresponsible 
slander on the intentions of the Propaganda Ministry" and accused 
him of ridiculing Nazi ideas, "which today are sacred to every Ger- 
man peasant." The Griine Post was promptly suspended for three 
months. Welke was dismissed and sent to a concentration camp. He 
was also guilty of having married a Jewess and of cherishing demo- 
cratic ideas. 1 

To Goebbels' chagrin, this procedure did not lead to any display 
of greater independence and initiative on the part of editors. On 
May 8, 1934, he therefore ordered the press to be "free" "as far as 
necessities of State permit." He insisted on free and individualized 
commentaries, decreed the abolition of discriminatory exclusion of 
journalists at public events, and declared that official texts of speeches 
need no longer be printed. Hitler at th same time delivered a long 
lecture to the Nazi press leaders, urging them to show more initiative 
and a greater sense of responsibility. 2 But still the results were dis- 
appointing. In May and June Goebbels conducted a nation-wide 
campaign of denunciation against critics and grumblers. After June 
30, 1934, numerous arrests were made for "spreading rumours" and 
criticizing the government. 3 Goebbels warned the press on July 24 
that only the Propaganda Ministry had the right to influence opinion. 
Under these circumstances, the German press has continued to 
languish. Point 23 of the party program has been fulfilled. But in- 
creasing numbers of Germans have stopped reading papers. 

This situation suggests one of the obstacles inevitably encountered 
by every regime employing force and fear to silence criticism. Resist- 
ance on the part of individuals subjected to arrest, incarceration, and 
torture is usually ineffective, though in exceptional circumstances it 

1 The New Yor^ Times, May 2, 3, and 6, 1934. 

2 V.B., May 8, 1934. 

8 Cf. list of instances compiled by AP, The New York Times ; July 22, 1934. 


may produce surprising and dramatic results. 1 Active mass resistance 
is impossible when all the machine-guns are in the hands of loyal 
henchmen of the dictatorship. But collective passive resistance can 
rften paralyse even the most ruthless tyranny. 2 

The dictatorship of the NSDAP has effectively destroyed all or- 
ganized parties and movements of opposition through the murder, 
execution, bludgeoning, or imprisonment of leaders, through the 
:onfiscation of funds and property, 3 through the public ridicule of 
rritics, 4 through the suppression of all liberty of political expression 
md activity, and through the maintenance of an elaborate machin- 
ery of espionage and repression. At the same time the incessant and 
extraordinarily effective propaganda of the Nazi regime has silenced 
>r converted millions of potential opponents. Such tactics necessarily 
"ail, however, in dealing with the more subtle and intangible forms 
)f sabotage. 

People cannot in the mass be compelled to buy newspapers. 
Strong-arm tactics were used in 1933 to increase subscriptions to 
/arious Nazi journals and then abandoned. In general the German 
ntelligentsia has accepted "co-ordination" without a murmur, and 
10 instances of significant student opposition have come to the 
vriter's attention. But a littfe handful of rebels has accepted martyr- 
lorn in the name of academic freedom and the ultimate effect of 
heir gesture is not wholly negligible. In ecclesiastical circles other 
ebels resist the politicalization of the Church. Clubs and guns are 
iangerous weapons to use against churchmen. People cannot be 
)revented from passing sly remarks and coining jokes at the expense 
>f the regime: 

Cf. the case of Dimitroff, pp. 333 f. below. 

! Cf. "The Poverty of Power," in C. E. Mcrriam: Political Power: Its Composition and 
ncidencc (New York; McGraw-Hill; 1934). 

'On December r, 1933, the Gestapo announced the confiscation of the possessions of 
imil Ludwig, Heinrich Mann, Rudolf Brcitschcid, Wilhclm Miinzenbcrg, Johannes 
Wcrthaucr, Leopold Schwarzschild, Max Sicvert, the German Peace Society, the League 
>f Free Thinkers, the League for the Protection of Motherhood, the Executive Com- 
mittee of the Socialist Party, the Reichsbanncr, and dozens of other individuals and 
>rganizations. All the property of Bcrnhard Weiss, former vice-president of the Berlin 
jolice, was confiscated on December 8. Thousands of Jews, liberals, and other critics 
)f the regime have suffered a similar fate. 

l For example (one among hundreds), a Dr. Engeland of Salzuelcn was overheard 
naking a remark derogatory to Hitler and was paraded through the streets with a 
placard around his neck: "I am a scoundrel; I have insulted Dcr Fiihrcr." AP dispatch, 
\pril 27, 1934. 


Under Schleicher and von Papen 
We had meat, like good "Rostbraten." 
Under Hitler, Goebbels, Goring 
We scarcely even get a herring. 

Oranienburg, Oranienburg, 
How brown you have become! 
Once only Marxists lingered there, 
Now it's become a storm-troop lair. 

"Hitler, Goring, Goebbels, and Rohm walked down Unter den 
Linden together yesterday, and no one recognized them." 

"How's that?" 

"Hitler had his hair combed, Goring had on civilian clothes, Goeb- 
bels had his mouth shut, and Rohm was with a woman." 

"Papa, who burned the Reichstag?" asked the little boy at table. 
"Sh-sh," says Papa. "Ess, ess! (Eat, eat!)" 
"But, Papa, who burned the Reichstag?" 
"Sh, S.S.!" 

A vaudeville comedian declares: "Yesterday I saw a Mercedes car, 

and, just think, there wasn't a Nazi in it!" He is reproved for dis- 
loyalty and compelled to apologize. He says: "Yesterday I saw a 
Mercedes car, but it was all right there was a Nazi in it." 

Why is Hitler now a widow? Rohm is dead. 

Why is Goring so fat? He wears all his uniforms at once. 

A passer-by plunges into the Spree and rescues a drowning man. 
He discovers that it is Hitler. Der Fiihrer offers him any reward he 
may ask. "But my name is Cohen," says the rescuer. "No matter, 
you may still have anything you ask for." "Ach, Herr Hitler, I have 
only one request." "And what is that?" "Please don't tell anybody 
who rescued you." 

Such tales, passed from mouth to mouth behind closed doors, are 
infinite in number and spiciness. They are, of course, of little polit- 


ical significance and are often relished by Nazis themselves, though 
men and women have lost their jobs and been sent to concentration 
camps for less. The actual extent of organized "underground" op- 
position cannot be estimated with any degree of accuracy. The Com- 
munist Party still lives. It still eschews individual terrorism. But its 
agents work ceaselessly in a fantastic atmosphere of espionage and 
counter-espionage reminiscent of Tsarist Russia. Their purpose is 
to keep the organization alive and to circulate forbidden Marxist 
literature. The famous "Groups of Five" consist of Communist cells 
in factories. They hold no meetings and keep no records. Only one 
man in each group knows members of other groups. He is the link 
to others and to the secret district committees. He works to establish 
new groups and to circulate copies (secretly multigraphed or printed 
in miniature or in disguise, between the covers of theatre programs, 
novels, or advertisements) of the Rote Fahne, the Brown Bool( f and 
other publications attacking or exposing the NSDAP. Occasionally 
"lightning demonstrations" will be staged in back streets. A crowd 
of workers will appear suddenly, shout in chorus: "Down with 
Hitler! Hail the proletarian revolution!" and then vanish as by 
magic into buildings, alleyways, and side streets before the police 
arrive. Police spies and stool-pigeons worm their way into the Ftinfe* 
gruppen, where they betray their "friends" to the authorities. They 
are sometimes discovered and secretly beaten up or murdered by un- 
known persons. The Socialist exiles abroad likewise claim to be in 
contact with secret Socialist organizations in Germany, some of 
which, in certain districts, are apparently larger and better organized 
than those of the KPD. Such nuclei of opposition are of no impor- 
tance in the short run, so long as the dictators are united, the masses 
are quiescent, and the Reich is at peace. What their significance 
might be in a grave nation-wide political crisis can scarcely be pre- 

Despite these minor symptoms of unrest, there can be no doubt 
but that Nazi terrorism, coupled with propaganda, has served its 
double purpose: that of furnishing a channel for the discharge of 
the sadistic propensities of party members and that of destroying 
all opposition and frightening critics into silence. It has often been 
said that terror is a necessary weapon of dictatorship. It is equally 
true that dictatorship is the corollary of terrorism. Indeed, it might 
well be argued that the dictatorial or non-dictatorial character of a 


regime is a function of the degree to which it persecutes those who 
oppose its policies. The totalitarian Fascist State is a jealous State 
which brooks no gods but Hitler. All criticism must be liquidated, 
not because the regime is imperilled, but on principle because of 
the Filhrerprinzip, which exacts blind obedience and gives citizens 
only duties, not rights. Those who cannot be liquidated by propa- 
ganda must be liquidated by force. Terror thus becomes a perma- 
nent instrument of power. Once the pattern is established, terror 
begets more terror. It becomes the normal means of dealing with 
differences of opinions, interests, and ambitions, even though the 
very existence of terrorism may be denied. 




IF THE tools of political power be ranked from the simple to the com- 
plex, from the brutal to the subtle, the persecution of minorities 
deserves to be regarded as the most ancient, most direct, and most 
immediately efficacious device which can be used by a ruling class, 
next to the outright imprisonment, torture, or execution of oppo- 
nents. This weapon possesses numerous advantages over simple ter- 
rorization of disturbers of the status quo. Terrorism, even on a mass 
scale, affords a channel for the discharge of aggressions for only a 
few members of the whole community. The remainder is merely 
frightened or left unmoved. f in neither case is loyalty to the regime 
promoted. In the persecution of minorities, however, the entire com- 
munity (excepting only the victims) can participate in one way or 
another. Fear of government is transmuted into detestation of those 
branded by government as public enemies. Where the device is used 
successfully, resentments against the beneficiaries of the political and 
social status quo are transferred to scapegoats, whose persecution 
affords emotionally satisfying channels for the release of social ten- 
sions. The elite is enabled to identify its critics with those labelled 
as foes of the whole society. It evokes deference and loyalty by under- 
taking the praiseworthy mission of rescuing the community from 
corruption and exploitation. 

The creation of pariah caste, singled out for discrimination and 
contempt, serves another function useful to every ruling class. It 
affords to those disgruntled strata near the bottom of the social 
hierarchy the emotional satisfaction of being able to "look down 

upon" a group which is still lower in the social scale. Impoverished 



workers and poor peasants, infused with collective consciousness of 
the "superiority" of their race, language, or religion, are distracted 
from their misery and enabled to share in the psychic satisfactions 
which the elite derives from its position at the apex of the social 
pyramid. This pattern explains in large degree the extraordinary 
stability of the Indian caste system and the imperviousness of white 
wage-earners in the American South to appeals for trade-union 
organization and "class consciousness." In the former case, each 
segment in the hierarchy can give thanks for the opportunity which 
it enjoys to despise the next lowest segment, down through the social 
scale to the "untouchables" at the bottom. In the latter case, the 
prospective joys of class solidarity and union activity, with employ- 
ers as targets of aggressions, are derived from despising the Negro, 
"keeping him in his place," and occasionally beating, torturing, and 
lynching members of the "inferior" race. 

Anti-Semitism in the modern world has frequently played this 
role. It is the lightning-rod by means of which unrest in the lower 
social strata is deflected away from aristocratic or bourgeois elites 
and onto a helpless minority which is ideally adapted for use as a 
scapegoat, by virtue of its relatively small numbers and its wide 
dispersion throughout the western worl/1. Even in the Middle Ages 
and the early modern period, when European Jews were segregated 
and discriminated against as a religious group rather than as a 
racial minority, anti-Judaism served the interests of political and 
ecclesiastical rulers. The hatred of Christian for Jew had its obvious 
uses for princes and nobles, bishops and priests. Protestant Chris- 
tianity, no less than Catholicism, was anti-Jewish. Luther attacked 
the Jews as savagely as he did his deluded peasant followers who 
were so sinful as to rebel against their landlords and priests. In 1570, 
thirty-four Jews were burned to death in Berlin for the alleged 
"ritual murder" of a Christian child. The gradual establishment of 
religious toleration diminished Jew-baiting on religious grounds. 
Not until the French Revolution, however, did the emancipation of 
European Jewry from its disabilities and its ghettos begin. And not 
until 1847 did the Prussian government, with many exceptions, 
grant Jews equal legal rights with Christians. Bismarck then op- 
posed this measure, but in 1869 he pushed through a law in the North 
German Confederation for the complete emancipation of German 


Scarcely had the last vestiges of religious anti-Judaism disappeared 
from the statute books, when modern racial anti-Semitism emerged. 
It was, and is, a product of the insecurities of a peasantry and Klein- 
btirgertum increasingly exploited and oppressed between corporate 
industry and finance on the one hand and the organized proletariat 
on the other. Modern anti-Semitism was born in Germany during 
the business depression after 1873. The term was apparently coined 
by Wilhelm Marr in iSyg. 1 In 1880 Bismarck told the Jewish mer- 
chant Bleichroeder that he tolerated anti-Semitism only because it 
provided a safe discharge for the anti-capitalistic leanings of the 
Kleinburgertum. The development of the movement paralleled the 
growth of the "Aryan" and "Nordic" myths. 2 The Jews were now 
denounced, not as followers of Judaism, but as members of an alien 
"race." The terms "Aryan" (Indo-European) and "Semitic," familiar 
to scholars as names of groups of languages, came to be applied to 
biological stocks. Hebrew, like Arabic, is a Semitic language. Yid- 
dish, like German, is an Aryan language. No such entities as an 
Aryan "race" or a Semitic "race" have ever existed. But the scientific 
conclusions of philology and anthropology were here of no conse- 
quence. Racial "Aryanism" and anti-Semitism became the vogue in 
petty-bourgeois circles. The first International Anti-Semitic Congress 
was held in Dresden in 1883. Anti-Semitic parties had deputies in 
the Reichstag continuously after 1890. Stacker, Ahlwardt, Eugen 
Diihring, and Liebermann von Sonnenberg were the founders of 
the new faith, no less than Gobineau, Chamberlain, Marr, and 
Wagner. It waxed and waned in the pre-war period, depending in 
part on the state of the business cycle. In 1913 "Daniel Frymann," 
in a popular book: Wenn tch der Kaiser War (published in Munich, 
where Hitler was then living), urged that all Jews should be deprived 
of citizenship, of political rights, and of the right to own land and 
lend money, and should be barred from parliament, the public serv- 
ice, the army and navy, the legal profession, banking, theatres, and 
journalism. Anti-Semitism was reborn and flourished after 1919. 

The sources and content of Nazi anti-Semitism, which subse- 
quently absorbed all other brands, have already been dealt with. 8 

1 Cf. his Der Sieg des ]tidcntttms iiber das Gcrmancntum; sec also the* references in 
Benjamin Ginzburg: "Anti-Semitism/' Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences. 
2 Cf. pp. ii3f. above, and Wickham Steed: Hitler, Whence and Whither? (London: 
Nisbet; 1934), pp. 3-40, on "The Nordic Legend.*' 
8 Cf. pp. 109-13 above.^ 


All the party leaders continually denounced Judas and made anti- 
Semitism the basis of their entire Weltanschauung: 

"Is the Jew also a human being? Of course, and no one of us has 
denied it. We merely deny that he is a respectable human being. A 
human being, in any case but what kind of a one! 

" 'Anti-Semitism is unchristian.' To be Christian means: Love thy 
neighbour as thyself. My neighbour is my racial comrade. If I love 
him, then I must hate his enemies. Who things German must de- 
spise the Jews. The one implies the other." * 

After January 1933, anti-Semitic pamphlets flooded German streets. 
Such books as Johann von Leers: Juden sehen Dich an (Berlin: 
NS Verlag; 1933) and 14 Jahre Judenrepublif^ (2 vols.; Berlin: 
NS Verlag; 1933) became best-sellers. Goebbels declared: "Our 
hatred of Jews is no passing fancy, but rather the logical consequence 
of our love for the German people. The Jews brought international 
capitalism, which recklessly threw chains of slavery around Ger- 
many, and they also brought Marxism. Germans have a gigantic 
fight against Marxism, and especially against Communism." 2 At 
the Niirnberg "Congress of Victory" Hitler quoted Mommsen to 
prove that the Jews were "a ferment of decomposition." Hans Frank 
asserted in October 1933: , 

"Anti-Semites we are, and have been from the beginning. We are 
so, however, and this we must emphasize, not out of hatred for the 
Jew, but out of love for the German people. We are of the opinion 
that the blood substance of the Germanic race constitutes so pre- 
eminent and unique an asset of the world as a whole that we should 
be justified in counting it the duty of the entire human race, in 
gratitude, to safeguard this basic Germanic element, for we know 
that from this racial substance have issued the highest achievement 
of man." 3 

Once in control of the State, the NSDAP found that anti-Semitism 
not only could serve the role already suggested, but could serve other 
political purposes as well. The blame for all tales of terror and atroci- 
ties, all foreign criticism of the regime, all denunciations and boy- 
cotts abroad was laid on the Jews. A tremendous anti-Semitic litera- 
ture blossomed forth. Accusations against the Jews have ranged all 

*?. J. Goebbels: Mjolnir (Munich: Eher; 1931). 

2 Der An griff, March 6, 1933. 

3 Quoted in the London Times, October 10, 1933. 


the way from allegations that Jews are sloppy housekeepers * to 
insistence that the Jews burned Nordics in the Inquisition, 2 invented 
democracy and Marxism, caused the Great War, brought about 
Germany's collapse, poisoned German race-purity, raped Aryan 
women, imported French Negroes into the Rhineland, and drank 
the blood of Christian children. 

While the role of the Jews in German society has only an acci- 
dental connection with their persecution, brief attention must be 
given to it because of Nazi efforts to prove the contention that the 
Jews dominated German life. 3 German census figures of religious 
confessions indicate that in 1925 there were 564,379 "Israelites" in 
the Reich, as compared with 20,193,334 Catholics and 40,014,677 
Protestants. Between 1910 and 1925 the number of Protestants per 
thousand decreased from 659 to 641, of Catholics from 326 to 323, and 
of Jews from 9.3 to 9.0, while the number of free thinkers and pagans 
increased from 3 to 24.* Professing Judaists thus constituted, in 1925, 
0.9 per cent of the total population of 62,410,619. This figure does not 
include those Jews who had adopted Christianity, those with no 
admitted religious faith, and those who by ancestry were only partly 

The German-Jewish community had lived in Germany since the 
early mediaeval period (if not since Roman times) and had perhaps, 
despite its disabilities, become more thoroughly assimilated than 
any other Jewish group elsewhere. The very language of world 
Jewry, Yiddish, is a variant of German. Intermarriage between Jews 
and Gentiles was forbidden by law until the middle of the nineteenth 
century, but thereafter became fairly common. The number of Jews 
in the Reich was slowly decreasing before the war, owing in part to 
a lower birth-rate. The total German birth-rate fell from 41.05 per 
thousand in 1880 to 33.05 in 1910, while the Jewish birth-rate declined 
from 32.26 to 16.55. I n Hamburg the Jews declined from 4.5 per cent 
of the population in 1866 to 1.7 per cent in 1925; in Berlin from 5.5 

1 Cf. V.B., January 5, 1934, with photographs. 

2 Journal of the Aryosophs, October 8, 1933. 

3 Cf., for example, the works of Leers cited above and the English leaflets issued by the 
Fichte-Bund, Hamburg, under the caption: "Help to Kill the Lie!" especially No. 642: 
"The Truth about the Jews in Germany," containing numerous falsifications and mis- 
representations of statistics. 

4 Statistischcs Jahrbuch fur das deutsche Reich, 1933, p. 18. 


per cent in 1871 to 4.3 in 1925.* On the other hand, the number of 
Jews in Prussia increased by 37,093 between 1910 and 1925. In the 
latter year there were 601,779 aliens in Prussia, of whom 76,387 were 
Jewish. This, then, is the total of that much advertised "flood" of 
Ostjudentum which the Nazis insist poured into Germany after the 
war. In this connection it is worth recalling that during the war 
Ludendorflf invited Polish Jews to enjoy German "freedom" and that 
during the German military occupation thousands of Polish and 
Russian Jews were deported as labourers to Germany, where they 
were obliged to remain. 

The accusation that the Jews dominated German public life and 
controlled certain professions is likewise a product of Nazi imagina- 
tions. Nazi anti-Semitism has notoriously been most rabid in peasant 
districts, where the Jews were fewest and poorest: in Bavaria, where 
the Jews in 1925 numbered 6.7 per thousand of the population; in 
East Prussia (5.0); in Pomerania (4.1); in Upper Silesia (7.3); in 
Prussian Saxony (2.4); in Schleswig-Holstein (2.7); in Thuringia 
(2.2); and in Braunschweig (3.5). These were long the strongholds 
of the NSDAP. Where the Jews were more numerous and prosper- 
ous, anti-Semitism and Nationalsocialism were weakest: Berlin 
(43.0 Jews per thousand population in 1925); Hesse-Nassau (21.7); 
Baden (10.4); Hessen (15.2); Hamburg (17.3); etc. 2 The denuncia- 
tion of scapegoats is always most effective where the scapegoats are 
not one's neighbours and can be painted in hideous colours because 
of the lack of inter-personal contact with them. 

The Jewish contribution to Germany during the war was impres- 
sive, though Jews were largely barred from the old army. Of the 
total Jewish population, 96,327 or 17.3 per cent served in the army 
and navy, as compared with 18.7 per cent for the whole German 
population. Of these 12,000 were killed, 78 per cent were at the front, 
and 12 per cent were volunteers. 3 Manfred von Richthofen, "Red 

1 Cf. Heinrich Silbergleit: Die Bevolfarungs- tmd Berufs-Verhaltnisse der Jttden im 
deutschen Reich (Berlin: Akademie Verlag; 1930); and Mildred Wertheimer: "The 
Jews in the Third Reich,'* Foreign Policy Association Reports, Vol. 9, No. 16, October 
ii, I933- 

2 Statisti sc hes ]ahrbuch ft'ir das dentsche Reich, 1933, p. 18. 

3 Cf . Jakob Segall: Die deutschen Jttden als Soldaten im Kriege 1914-1318 (Berlin: 
Philo; 1922); compare Der Stiirmcr, January 1934: "If the Jew-lover remonstrates that 
there have been courageous Jews as soldiers in the Great War, some of whom even won 
decorations, then point out to him that they were bastards of the second or third 


Knight of Germany," greatest of war aces and Goring's commander, 
was of Jewish extraction. And it is no exaggeration to say that with- 
out the genius of two Jews the Reich could never have withstood 
its enemies for four years: Walter Rathenau, who organized the 
German war industries; and Fritz Haber, who invented the process 
of fixing nitrogen from the air and thus made Germany independent 
of foreign supplies of nitrates for explosives. As for the "Weimar 
Jew Republic," Hugo Preuss, framer of the Constitution, was indeed 
a Jew. But of the 250 Ministers in the republican Cabinets between 
1918 and 1933, only two were Jews and only four of Jewish descent. 
Of the 608 members elected to the Reichstag in July 1932, there was 
only one Jew, and only fourteen were of Jewish extraction. 1 

The proportion of Jews in the learned professions was high, ow- 
ing perhaps to special Jewish aptitudes and to the century-long ex- 
clusion of Jews from agriculture, the army, the public service, and 
many other vocations. In Prussia in 1925, where the Jews numbered 
1.5 per cent of the population, only 0.7 per cent of gainfully em- 
ployed Jews were in public administration, as compared with 2.3 
per cent of gainfully employed non-Jews. Of the occupied Jews, 71.7 
per cent were in commerce and industry, as compared with 51.7 
per cent of non-Jews, and 10 per cent were in the professions, as 
compared with 6.8 per cent fbr non-Jews. The Jews, however, num- 
bered only 34 per cent of all persons in commerce and industry, 2.3 
in the professions, and 0.3 in the public service. 2 In Prussia Jews 
numbered 7 per cent of all independent druggists, 18 per cent of 
doctors, 5 of artists, 27 of lawyers, and 15 of dentists. For Berlin the 
corresponding figures were 32, 48, 7, 50, and Q. 3 In the theatre, music, 
cinema, journalism, university teaching, and the stock exchange the 
Jews were also numerous. That "Aryan" doctors, lawyers, dentists, 
actors, and musicians should in some cases have embraced National- 
socialism as a means of disposing of their competitors is understand- 
able. That the Jews, by deliberate choice and design, sought to 
"dominate" these professions is an allegation wholly without basis 
in fact. 

generation, who had to sacrifice themselves in the interests of World- Jewry. . . . The 

first thing one has to do with a fellow who speaks like that is to bash his teeth in." 

1 Computation of Wickham Steed, op. cit., p. 140. 

2 Cf. table on p. 178 of Werthcimer, lex:, cit. 

8 Cf. tables in Leers: 14 ]ahre ]udcnrepubli\ t pp. 151-8. 



ONE of the first steps of the Nazi regime was to exclude Jews from 
the public service. The Civil Service Law of April 4, I933, 1 with its 
supplementary decrees, bars all Jews from public service, including 
railways, courts, schools, and universities. Jewish teachers and pro- 
fessors were likewise ousted from their posts. Scores of prominent 
scholars were compelled to quit academic seats because of their 
unwisdom in the choice of grandparents or wives. They included 
five Nobel Prize winners: Albert Einstein and James Franck, 
noted physicists; Gustav Hertz and Otto Meyerhoff, famous physi- 
ologists; and Fritz Haber, chemist, who was found dead in a Swiss 
hotel on January 29, 1934. Emil Lederer, economist, was discharged 
from the University of Berlin. Max Liebermann and Karl Hofer, 
noted painters; Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer, and Fritz Zweig, 
conductors; Lotte Schone, soprano; Max Reinhardt, theatrical direc- 
tor; Kurt Glaser, historian of art; Hans Kclsen, perhaps the most 
noted contemporary political philosopher of the Continent; and 
hundreds of other scientists, teachers, artists, musicians, and writers 
have been driven to retirement, exile, or suicide. 2 Many non-Jewish 
liberals or radicals have suffered a similar fate. The hatred of the 
Nazis has pursued some of these men beyond the frontier. Professor 
Theodor Lessing, pacifist, was expelled from the Hanover Technical 
Institute in 1932. He went to Marienbad, Czechoslovakia, where he 
was murdered on August 31, 1933. 

Jewish students have also been discriminated against. The "Law 
against the overcrowding of German schools and Universities" 3 
specified that in all non-obligatory schools and in all universities, 
the number of students must be limited to the requirements of 
the professions. The state Cabinets determine how many new 
students may be admitted each year. New non-Aryan students must 
not number more than 1.5 per cent of the total student body. Excep- 
tions are permitted, however, and students whose fathers fought at 
the front, those whose parents married before 1933, and those with 
one Aryan parent or two Aryan grandparents are exempted (Section 
4). These exceptions make the law chiefly significant for the future, 

1 Cf. pp. 2 5 of. above. 

2 Cf. partial list in The New Yor^ Times, March 5, 1934. 
., 1933, Vol. I, No. 43 (April 25), p. 225. 


though where non-Aryan students exceed five per cent of the student 
body they may be expelled. Jewish medical and dental students al- 
ready enrolled and not falling within excepted categories can secure 
degrees only by giving up their German citizenship and, therewith, 
their right to practise in Germany. In the lower schools non-Aryan 
Christian children are barred from common religious services. Aryan 
pupils are often encouraged to revile and persecute their Jewish play- 
mates. These practices have perhaps embittered German non-Aryans 
more than any other single feature of Nazi anti-Semitism. 

The legal profession has likewise been "cleansed." Almost all 
Jewish judges, court officials, and prosecuting attorneys were dis- 
missed under the Civil Service Law. Provision was likewise made for 
the disbarment of non-Aryan lawyers and for the non-adrnission of 
Jews to the bar after September 30, 1933. Jewish doctors, dentists, 
actors, musicians, and stage directors have also been deprived of their 

In commerce and industry, where the first Nazi attacks against 
Jews were concentrated, there has been less persecution than in 
other fields. It was precisely here, however, that the anti-Semitic ag- 
gressions of the Kleinbiirgertum and the peasantry were most in- 
tense. To drive Jewish shopkeepers out of business, to municipalize 
Jewish department stores, to* expropriate Jewish bankers, to "break 
the bonds of interest slavery" were the professed objectives of the 
NSDAP. After the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor, there were 
high hopes in certain S.A. quarters that "the night of the long 
knives" was near that is, a pogrom. Non-Aryan shopkeepers and 
business men would undoubtedly have been the first victims. The 
pogrom failed to materialize, however. Hitler demanded discipline 
and legality. Goring, to be sure, declared on March 10 that the police 
would not be used to protect Jewish stores. There were numerous 
instances of Jews being robbed, beaten, or murdered by storm troop- 
ers. But the hoped-for massacre and general expropriation was not 
authorized by the party leaders. 

This situation created another dilemma for the directors of the 
NSDAP, which they resolved with their usual skill. On the one hand, 
the foreign press was denouncing the regime for persecuting the 
Jews. On the other hand, many party members and S.A. men were 
denouncing their leaders for not persecuting the Jews. The legitimate 
expectation of loyal Nazis had somehow to be satisfied, particularly 


as anti-Semitic activity would distract attention from the convenient 
amnesia of the party leaders with regard to their "socialistic" promises. 
But any action which would multiply the "atrocity stories" circulat- 
ing abroad and intensify anti-Nazi feelings in foreign capitals must 
be avoided for diplomatic reasons. What to do? Hitler and Goebbels 
were equal to the occasion. The solution: blame the Jews for the 
"atrocity propaganda"; organize an official boycott against all Jewish 
businesses in Germany; hold the German Jews as "hostages" and 
threaten them with complete ruin unless foreign attacks on the Nazi 
regime were discontinued. Thus the exuberant anti-Semites in the 
party would have their energies directed into relatively safe channels, 
many German Jews would be coerced into denying the "atrocity 
tales," and enemies of the NSDAP abroad would be frightened into 
silence, out of fear of subjecting the Jews in Germany to still worse 

This product of political genius was apparently the brain-child of 
Hitler himself. On March 26, 1933, Der Fiihrer disclosed his plan 
to Goebbels at Berchtesgaden. Goebbels was enthusiastic and ap- 
proved the appointment of Julius Streicher, the Niirnberg fanatic, 
as director of the boycott. On the 27th it was announced that the 
"Nationalsocialist movement will now* take the most drastic legal 
counter-measures against the intellectual authors and exploiters of 
this treasonable agitation which is mainly conducted abroad by Jews 
formerly resident in Germany." It was likewise announced that 
"Committees of Action" would organize the boycott. 1 The Manifesto 
of the NSDAP on March 28 proclaimed a national boycott of Jewish 
business and professional men to begin on Saturday, April i. It laid 
down eleven detailed rules to be followed in the organization and 
execution of the boycott and declared: 

"Communist and Marxist criminals and their Jewish-intellectual 
instigators, who managed in good time to escape abroad with their 
money, are now conducting a conscienceless treasonable propaganda 
against the German people . . . from the capitals of the former 
Entente countries." 2 

The boycott machinery was hastily but efficiently organized. Great 
mass meetings were held and all papers were compelled to print the 

1 Frankfurter Zeitung, March 28, 1933. 

2 For text of Manifesto, sec Mildred Wcrtheimcr: "The Jews in the Third Reich,'* 
Foreign Policy Association Reports, October n, 1933, pp. 175-6. 


party Manifesto. Many prominent Jews repudiated the "atrocity 
stories." The Berliner Tageblatt appealed frantically for a cessation 
of the "atrocity propaganda." * Goebbels, on March 28: 

"I telephone the Leader. The boycott proclamation will be pub- 
lished today. Panic among the Jews! ... In the evening I telephone 
the Leader and report the effects of the boycott proclamation. It has 
cleared the atmosphere like a thunder-storm." 2 

But still there were difficulties. The Foreign Office and the non- 
Nazi Cabinet members were in as much a panic as the Jews. Private 
protests poured in from industrial, financial, and shipping circles. 
Papen was dubious. Neurath threatened to resign. "Many hang their 
heads and see ghosts," wrote Goebbels on the 3ist. "They think the 
boycott would lead to war. But if we defend ourselves we can only 
win esteem." 3 The Cabinet refused to approve, however, unless the 
boycott were limited to one day. Reluctantly Hitler and Goebbels 
yielded. They also repudiated the demand of the NSBO and the 
Committees of Action that all Jewish employers be compelled to 
discharge their Jewish workers and to pay two months' advance 
salary to their Aryan employees. The boycott was limited to Saturday, 
with a threat of renewal on the following Wednesday if the foreign 
press had not mended its ways. Proclamations went up on all kiosks: 

"The Jews have time to reflect until Saturday morning at ten 
o'clock. Then the fight begins. The Jews of the whole world are 
planning to destroy Germany. German people, defend yourselves! 
Don't buy from the Jews!" 

Banners and placards were prepared all over the Reich, under the 
direction of Streicher and Goebbels: "The Jews are our bane!" "In 
defence against the Jewish atrocity and boycott campaign!" "Don't 
buy from Jewish stores!" 

At 10.00 a.m., Saturday, April i, 1933, the boycott began. Every- 
where Jewish stores and all Jewish establishments save banks and 
newspapers were picketed by S.A. men, who posted placards, scrib- 
bled insulting epithets on windows, and warned customers away. 
Jewish lawyers, judges, teachers, doctors, and dentists were frequently 
prevented from entering their places of work by storm troopers. 
Most of the Jewish shops closed up business for the day. There was 

1 Cf. "Es ist nicht wahr" March 28, 1933. 

2 Vom Kaiserhof zur Reichsfynzlci, p. 289. 

3 Goebbels, op. cit., p. 290. 


no violence, but only disciplined hatred and enthusiasm. 1 In the 
afternoon a hundred and fifty thousand Berliners demonstrated 
against the Jews in the Lustgarten, and in the evening a hundred 
thousand Hitler Youths paraded. "The boycott," said Goebbels, "is 
a great moral victory for Germany. . . . The Leader has again hit 
on the right thing. ... At midnight the boycott is broken off by our 
own will. We await the echo in the foreign press." 2 On April i 
Hitler named Alfred Rosenberg head of the new APA, one of the 
functions of which would be to justify anti-Semitism to the world 
and to manufacture anti-Semitic sentiment in other countries. On 
Tuesday the Cabinet approved the new Civil Service Law, with its 
Aryan clause. It was decided not to resume the boycott. An official 
announcement declared that the world was "learning some sense." 
Since the tone of the foreign press had improved (the exact opposite 
was the case), it would be unnecessary to resume the boycott. It per- 
sisted, however, in some smaller centres, and Jewish business men 
have everywhere suffered since from prejudice and discrimination. 

Despite this inauspicious beginning, it may be said that the Jewish 
business community in Germany has suffered less than the profes- 
sional and intellectual classes. In their determination to prevent the 
party radicals from "disturbing business," the Nazi leaders have to 
some extent protected non-Aryan as well as Aryan entrepreneurs. 
On September 27, 1933, Minister Schmitt condemned discrimination 
against Jewish firms, on the ground that it "must disturb the work of 
economic reconstruction and unfavourably affect the labour market, 
since the boycotted firms are being compelled to reduce their staffs." 
Despite this plea, many Jews were expelled from the Berlin Stock 
Exchange and fifty-one Jewish traders were excluded from the Berlin 
Produce Exchange early in November. On November 24 Minister 
Seldte, in an order not made public till January, forbade the NSBO 
to coerce employers into dismissing Jewish workers. On January 6, 
1934, Frick and Goring declared that the molestation of Jews in 
business must cease. The Aryan clause must not be applied to private 
business. All government officials were instructed to enforce these 

The "cold pogrom" has affected every human relationship in the 

1 For circumstantial accounts sec C. B. Hoover: Germany Enters the Third Reich, 
pp. 122-8, and Lion Fcuchtvvangcr: The Oppermanns. 

2 Op. cit., p. 291. 


Reich. Apart from public legislation, numerous private organizations 
have adopted the "Aryan clause" under Nazi pressure or in patriotic 
imitation of the totalitarian State. Non-Aryans are thus barred not 
only from the public service and the professions, but from tennis 
clubs, chess clubs, sport organizations, singing societies, church so- 
cials, and numerous 'other activities. In September 1934, Jewish youth 
groups were forbidden to wear insignia, hold parades, conduct field 
sports, live together, or issue publications. 1 Storm troopers are required 
to prove the purity of their Aryan ancestry beyond 1800. On August 
30, and again on the 3ist, 1934, Hess denied that he had ordered S.A. 
men not to talk to or mingle with Jews: "There has been no such 
order; there is no such order; there will be no such order in fact I 
haven't yet even thought of such an order." 2 But on September 14 
the German press published an order from Hess, dated August 16, 
forbidding all party members to assist Jews in the courts, to accept 
Jewish contributions, and to associate with Jews in public. The order 

"The party has had to make immense sacrifices in its struggle 
against the domination of the destructive Jewish spirit, and it must 
be regarded as shamelessness for party members to stand up for those 
who have brought so much ill fortune to Germany." 3 

At the same time Wilhelm Kube, Governor of Brandenburg, de- 
clared : 

"The Jews betrayed us in 1918. The Jews brought Field Marshal 
von Hindenburg before the humiliating forum of the criminal Reichs- 
tag of the Jewish Weimar regime. The Jews caused the inflation. The 
Jews remain enemies of the German people." 4 

The Jews of Germany are thus outcasts in their own land to an 
even greater degree than the Negroes of the United States reviled, 
insulted, discriminated against, condemned to impoverishment, and 
held up to ridicule and hatred before the rising generation. The pain 
of persecution is felt all the more keenly since the overwhelming 
majority of Germans of Jewish origin have for centuries regarded 
themselves as an integral part of the German community. They have 
shared the trials and triumphs of the Fatherland and have contributed 
abundantly to its common life. To the enrichment of German Kultur 

1 The New York Times, September 16 and 22, 1934. 
2 AP dispatch, August 31, 1934. 

3 The New Yor^ Times, September 15, 1934. 

4 The New Yor% Times, September 15, 1934. 


they have given Heine, Mendelssohn, Liebermann, Reinhardt, 
Feuchtwanger, Preuss, Rathenau, Richthofen, Haber, Einstein, and 
hundreds of lesser figures. Now, however, they are treated as enemy 
aliens and as the source of all that is evil in the Reich. 

The question of whether the tempo of anti-Semitism has been re- 
tarded or accelerated since the close of the first year of the dictatorship 
admits of no easy answer. As early as October 1930 Hitler said: "I 
have nothing against respectable Jews, so long as they do not identify 
themselves with Bolshevism." * But in the Nazi view, no Jew can be 
"respectable" and all Jewish activity is "Kultur-Bolschewismus." 
Even the fanatic Streicher, however, disclaims any desire to slaughter 
the Jews and hopes only for international action to break "J ew i s h 
hegemony." 2 In response to pressure from the Foreign Office and 
from various sources abroad, a special issue of Dcr Sturmcr (May 3, 
1934, "Ritualmord-Nummer"), accusing the Jews of plotting to 
murder Hitler, was suppressed after it had been generally distributed, 
on the ground that it "attacked the Christian communion of the 
Lord's Supper." It depicted rabbis sucking blood from Aryan babies 
and "disclosed," in words and pictures, Jewish ritual murders from 
169 B.C. to 1932 A.D. While this number was only slightly more extreme 
than other issues of Streicher's paper, it jvas nevertheless suppressed. 
There have been instances of Nazis punished for extorting money 
from Jews. On March 23, 1934, Hans Frank warned "150 per cent 
anti-Semites" to desist from their grumbling over the fact that Jews 
were still alive, 

To balance these evidences of moderation, other instances of con- 
tinued or intensified anti-Semitic activity may be cited. On February 
28, 1934, Dr. Benno Walter, vice-president of B'nai B'rith, was ar- 
rested by the Berlin Secret Police for no announced reason. In a 
speech in the Sportpalast on March 23, Johannes Engel, labour Trus- 
tee, declared that Jews must be forbidden to give the Nazi salute 
though anyone in Germany failing to give it on ceremonial occasions 
is in danger of assault, as many foreigners discovered during 1933. 
On May i Dr. Jakob Wassermann of the Commerz- und Privatbank 
was arrested by the Gestapo for criticizing Goebbels "with cynical 
freshness." It was indicated that he would have ample opportunity, 
in the Oranienburg concentration camp, to learn how one should 

1 London Times interview, October 15, 1930. 

2 The New York Times, May 7 and 17, 1934. 


conduct oneself "as a guest of the German people." * 

In an address in the Sportpalast on May n, Goebbcls warned the 
world that if foreign boycotts of German goods continued, "the 
hatred, rage, and despair of the German people will first of all vent 
itself on those Jews who can be grabbed in the homeland. . . . We 
have spared the Jews, but if they think they can therefore reappear 
on the stage and in the editorial office, if they imagine they can again 
stroll along the Kurfurstendamm as if nothing at all had happened, 
let them take my words as a last warning. . . . German Jews will be 
left alone by us if they will quietly and modestly retire within their 
four walls and if they will refrain from putting forth a claim to equal 
worth and equal rights with Germans. If they do not, they will have 
themselves to blame for the consequences." 2 

Der Angriff of May u, 1934 declared: 

"The brazen fashion in which many Jews have begun once again to 
behave themselves has attracted general attention in the last few 
months. . . . We expect every reader, party member, storm trooper, 
and worker to report to us every case of Jewish shamelessness in the 
last weeks and months, so that we can publish it in Der Angriff" 

The future fate of the German Jews can only be discussed intelli- 
gently in terms of the role of the Jew as scapegoat and whipping-boy 
in the Third Reich. When economic conditions improve and the 
acquiescence of the masses can be secured through propaganda, anti- 
foreign agitation, and bread and circuses, the Jews will enjoy relative 
peace within the inferior status to which they have been reduced. 
When impoverishment is acute, when stifled criticism breaks through 
the censorship, when intra-party friction is serious (as in July 1933, 
May and June 1934, and again in October and November 1934), 
efforts will necessarily be made by the Nazi leaders to distract atten- 
tion by playing upon anti-Semitic prejudices. If this fails, naked ter- 
rorism is the last resort not against the Jews, but against those whose 
position is such that they might conceivably jeopardize the regime. 
After "Bloody Saturday" the anti-Semitic motif in the Nazi press 
was noticeably modulated. If, however, some embittered Jewish 
youth should ever assassinate a prominent personality in the regime, 
as happened on occasion in Tsarist Russia, a general pogrom of 
German Jews is by no means outside the realm of possibility. Anti- 

1 V.B., May 13, 1934. 

2 T/te New Vork Times, May 12, 1934. 


Semitic tirades in the Nazi press, accompanied by denunciation of 
"Peroxide Aryans," began to increase again during the winter of 
1934-5. Meanwhile the Jews will carry on, since they have been 
accustomed for centuries to survive even the most savage persecution. 
All things considered, it is probable that the Jews can dispense with 
Germany more easily than Germany can dispense with the Jews. The 
ultimate fate of the anti-Semitic despotisms of the past does not lend 
support to the prediction that Nationalsocialism will ever conquer 
or outlast Judaism. 


NUMEROUS groups in the Reich other than the Jews have likewise 
served the dictatorship as scapegoats. Marxists, liberals, pacifists, 
Freemasons, nudists, internationalists, feminists, modernists in music 
and art, and advocates of birth-control have all, in greater or lesser 
degree, been suppressed and browbeaten. The persecution of these 
groups, like that of the Jews, has furnished a convenient means of 
discharging sadistic tensions and has served in part to distract public 
attention from economic problems. All of them, in Nazi ideology, are 
but tools of the Israelite world conspiracy. If the values for which 
they stood were not regarded as obnoxious on their own account, 
they would be none the less damned because of their alleged relation- 
ship to Judas and Bolshevism. 

Only a few phases of this process need be touched upon here. Nazi 
insistence upon the intimate connection between Marxism and liberal- 
ism has been vehement from the beginning. While the KPD served 
as the great bogy from which Hitler saved the Reich in March 1933, 
the SPD and the bourgeois State Party were crushed in June. Na- 
tionalist and Centrist deputies were permitted to become "guests" 
of the NSDAP, but all avowed Marxists and liberals were deprived 
of their seats, and many of them arrested. Einstein was deprived of 
his property and citizenship, less because he was a Jew than because 
he was a liberal and a pacifist. On August 23 the government issued 
a list of thirty-three "outcasts" doomed to similar treatment. It in- 
cluded the pacifists Alfred Kerr, Otto Lehmann-Russbildt, Friedrich 
Foerster, Kurt Grossmann, and Hellmuth von Gerlach, as well as 
such avowed Communists as Wilhelm Miinzenburg, Hans Neu- 
mann, Max Hoelz, and Ernst Toller. It likewise included such lib- 


erals as Georg Bernard and Leopold Schwarzschild, along with the 
Social Democrats: Philip Scheidemann, Otto Wels, Friedrich 
Stampfer, Albert Grzesinski, Bernhard Weiss, and Rudolf Weiss- 

Not only were the bank accounts and other properties of such 
exiles confiscated, but they were branded as traitors and even de- 
prived of their academic degrees. On March 29, 1934, the Ministry of 
the Interior published a list of thirty-seven other "enemies of the 
State," who were deprived of their property and citizenship: Albert 
Einstein, Otto Friedliinder, Arthur Gross, Helmut Klotz, Kurt Ro- 
senfeld, Mrs. Max Hoelz, et al. 1 Many republican officials who re- 
mained, including Heinrich Hirtsiefer and Karl Stingle, were prose- 
cuted and imprisoned for "embezzlement." The periodical arrests 
and prosecutions of Communists for alleged crimes committed prior 
to January 1933 have been noted in the preceding chapter. Raids and 
arrests of this kind, like anti-Semitic activities, have become frequent 
whenever social unrest and intra-party friction have been acute. 
When, on May i, 1934, a ^ re burned down the Augsburg Siingerhalle, 
seventy-three alleged Marxists were arrested, on the ground that this 
was "another Bolshevist conflagration." 2 

Freemasons and Jews were denounced as "arch-enemies of the 
German peasantry" by Walter Darre, in an address to fifty thousand 
farmers at Hamm on December 3, 1933. On January 16, 1934, Goring 
invited the Masonic lodges of Prussia to dissolve themselves voluntar- 
ily, under threat of forcible suppression. 3 A week later the V.B. an- 
nounced that the German defeat at the first battle of the Marne, 
hitherto attributed to the Jews, was probably the result of a Masonic 
conspiracy. One Steiner, an anthroposophist, was alleged to have 
delivered an address to army officers in the general headquarters in 
Coblenz at the end of August 1914, thereby presumably distracting 
their attention from the campaign. The Mason, Lieutenant Hentsch, 
alleged to be the son of a French banker, then gave the orders to 
retreat. The Reichswehrministerium offered documentary proof that 
Steiner never gave the address in question and that Hentsch had 
given no orders, was not a Mason, and was the son of German 
Aryan parents. The V.B. nevertheless entitled its account: "The 

1 V.B., March 31, 1934. 

2 The New Yor^ Timet, May 2, 1934. 

3 V.B., January 17, 1934. 


Battle of the Marne A Masonic Betrayal?" * While a few Masonic 
lodges apparently survive in the Reich, the entire organization has 
been repeatedly denounced and subjected to official pressure and 
local dissolution under charges of having initiated the French Revo- 
lution, betrayed Germany in 1918, and made itself a tool of democ- 
racy, liberalism, and the "Jewish world conspiracy." 

Pacifism has been ruthlessly exterminated. All known pacifists 
have been dismissed from their posts in journalism, teaching, and 
other professions. Their books have been burned or banned and they 
have been driven into exile, imprisoned, or deprived of their citizen- 
ship and property. On April 16, 1934, a Berlin labour court upheld 
the right of an employer to discharge a worker who had boasted of 
having sold his Iron Cross when taken prisoner during the war: 

"Such disparagement of military decorations assails grievously the 
spirit of defence and the patriotism of the new Germany. The court 
is convinced that the appellant was actuated in his utterances by a 
pacifist and defeatist disposition and the intent to ridicule war medals 
and to strike at the military spirit." 2 

Many organizations which were in no sense pacifist, but which 
merely sponsored the amicable settlement of international disputes, 
have been dissolved, among them the ^German Society of Interna- 
tional Law.The peace weekly Dor andere Deutschlandwas suppressed 
on March 3, 1933, and its editor, Friedrich Kiister, imprisoned. Die 
dentsche Zufymjt was suppressed on March i, 1933. Its editor, Herr 
Riechert, and his son were imprisoned. In June S.A. men took them 
from jail, fastened a placard about the son's neck: "I am a traitor," 
affixed another about the father's neck: "And my family also," and 
paraded them in a wagon through the streets of Heide. Other liberal 
periodicals which were suppressed, with the jailing of their editors, 
were: Die nette Generation (Helene Stocker); Die neue Erziehung 
(Paul Oestreich) ; Die Fran im Staate (Lida Heymann) ; Die Mensch- 
enrechte; Der Friedens\ampjer (organ of the Friedensbund Deut- 
scher Katholiken, dissolved on July i, 1933). Captain Georg Lichey, 
editor of the Chroni\ der Menschheit, sought to establish a "national" 
peace society to support the "peace policy" of the government. In 
July 1933 he was sent to a concentration camp for his pains, and his 
paper suppressed. When Die Friedens-Warte, founded by Alfred 

1 V.B., January 25, 1934. 

New York Times, April 17, 1934. 


Fried in 1889 and edited by the distinguished jurists Walter Schiick- 
ing and Hans Wehberg, was compelled to move to Geneva, the last 
peace periodical printed in Germany disappeared. 1 

Even the ultra-patriotic monarchists have been repeatedly de- 
nounced by the NSDAP. In September 1933, police raided a castle 
near Heidenheim and announced the discovery of a "plot" of aristo- 
crats and intellectuals against the regime. "Brazen reaction" was vig- 
orously denounced by Goebbels during the spring of 19^4. Der Deut- 
sche, in January 1934, went so far as to condemn the Crown Prince 
for refusing to permit the cultivation of a moor belonging to his 
Silesian estate and reserved for hunting. 2 On the seventy-fifth birth- 
day of the Kaiser, Darre and other Nazi leaders criticized the former 
Emperor and persuaded the Stahlhelm Kreuz-Zeitung ("Forward 
with God for King and Fatherland") to temper its praises. 3 All re- 
maining monarchist organizations were dissolved in February. While 
the Junkers have been left undisturbed with their estates and privi- 
leges, and even subsidized by the Nazi regime in the style to which 
they were accustomed, all political activity looking toward a monar- 
chical restoration has been suppressed. 

Meanwhile Marxist heads have "rolled in the sand." The most 
spectacular prosecution of "Marxist criminals" was the Reichstag 
fire trial. 4 As the most extraordinary and politically important judicial 
proceedings in the history of post-war Germany, it was the centre 
of world-wide attention. Upon its issue hinged the answer to many 
questions: Had the Reichstag been burned by Communists? Did the 
NSDAP save Germany from an impending Communist insurrec- 
tion? Had the Nazis fired the Reichstag, as many of their enemies 
alleged? The KPD was on trial, with all the machinery of the Ger- 
man State organized to prove its guilt. The NSDAP was on trial, 
with the same machinery organized to defend it from the accusa- 
tions of the Brown Boot{. Here was to be Hitler's great attto-da-fe, 
with public beheadings of the culprits promised. The German public 
must be convinced of the truth of the myth which delivered the panic- 
stricken electorate to the Nazis on March 5. 

When the trial opened, and thereafter for many months, the salva- 

1 For details of these developments, cf. Die Fricdcns-Warte, April-May 1934, pp. 


2 The New Yor\ Times, January 18, 1934. 

8 Ibid., January 21, 1934. 

4 For an account of the fire, cf. pp. 20 if. above. 


tion of Germany from Bolshevism was a constant theme of the press. 
An anti-Communist "Revolutionary Museum" was opened in Ber- 
lin. In September, to the tune of much trumpeting, appeared a book 
published by the Union of German Anti-Communist Societies: 
Adolf Ehrt's Bewaffneter Aujstandl Enthullungen uber den \om- 
munistischen Umsturzversuch am Vorabend der nationalen Revolu- 
tion (Berlin: Eckart; 1933), subsequently translated into English 
under the title: Communism in Germany. On its front cover appeared 
the burning Reichstag and amid the flames two armed Spartacists 
and the figure of Van der Lubbe holding a membership card of the 
KPD. On the back cover was the grotesquely tattooed torso of the 
murderer of Horst Wessel, the Rot Front emblem, and the bloody 
head of a dead hero. Within was a sensational history of the KPD, 
with numerous ghastly photographs of S.A. men shot, stabbed, 
beaten, or otherwise maltreated by Red ruffians. Pictures of Horst 
Wessel and other martyrs were to be found within, as well as cari- 
catures of Communist leaders. But none of the "documents" proving 
the existence of a Communist conspiracy in February 1933 were here. 
Few readers would notice this, however. The "proof of Communist 
criminality was sufficient. The great trial would offer more proof. 

There were obstacles, however, in the way of making the trial 
serve its intended purpose. These obstacles led to much muddling 
and finally caused the whole proceeding to fail in its major aim: 
that of convicting the five defendants of having burned the Reichs- 
tag on behalf of the KPD, as a signal for a Red uprising. First of all, 
there was "world opinion" to consider. Though the Nazi leaders 
were contemptuous of foreign critics, they could ill afford to convict 
the defendants on perjured evidence and rush them to their death. 
Four of them were foreigners, though subjects of small, weak States 
whose governments could not or would not protect them. All eyes 
were focused on Leipzig. The trial would be a test of "justice" in the 
Third Reich. Some pretense of judicial impartiality must therefore 
be maintained. This necessity imposed obvious limits upon the 
degree of political coercion which could be exercised against the 
court and the extent to which perjury could be resorted to. By the 
time the trial opened, moreover, it seemed more important to prove 
that the Nazis did not burn the Reichstag than to prove that the 
Communists did. For this purpose, too, the rituals of the law must 
be observed, for otherwise there would be no popular confidence in 


the court nor respect for its verdict. The Brown Boot{ must be refuted 
and the "parallel trial" held in London by an international committee 
of jurists must be discredited. And if, as is probable, the conflagra- 
tion was the work of Nazis, it was of the most vital importance that 
no hint of the truth should leak out at the trial. 

Dr. Karl Werner, Chief Public Prosecutor of the Reich, and Dr. 
Parisius, his assistant, spent almost seven months in preparing the 
case. Herr Heissig had conducted the initial examination of Van 
der Lubbe and had gone to Leyden to gather more evidence. For 
five months the defendants were kept in chains day and night, a 
barbarity "justified" only by the fact that Dimitroflf had once "threat- 
ened" Dr. Vogt, the examining magistrate of the Reich Supreme 
Court, and that Taneff had attempted suicide. The tactics which the 
prosecution was to follow were indicated early. On March 22, 1933, 
Dr. Vogt issued a statement containing one allegation which was 
never verified namely, that Van der Lubbe had been in touch with 
German Communists and three statements which were later shown 
to be false namely, that Van der Lubbe was a Dutch Communist, 
that he had communicated with foreign Communists, and that these 
included the culprits in the Sofia cathedral explosion of 1925. The 
lengthy indictment was never published in full. The defendants 
were accused of "actions preparatory to high treason, with the object 
of changing by violence the Constitution of the German Reich." 
They were tried under ex post facto laws. The retroactive decree of 
February 28 and the acts of March 24 and 29 provided the death 
penalty or long terms of imprisonment for crimes against public 
security and arson from political motives. 

The trial opened September 21, 1933, before the Fourth Penal 
Chamber of the Reich Supreme Court in Leipzig the same body 
before which Hitler had declared, three years previously, that "heads 
would roll" when he came into power. Dr. Hunger was presiding 
judge. His four associates were Doctors Cocnders, Rusch, Lersch, 
and Frohlich. The prosecution was conducted by Werner and Paris- 
ius. Only Torgler was defended by a lawyer of his own choice: Dr. 
Alfonse Sack, a Nazi attorney and an old friend of his client. Van der 
Lubbe rejected the services of a defender, but the court named Dr. 
Seuffert as his attorney. It likewise assigned Dr. Teichert to defend 
the Bulgarians, who were denied the right to employ foreign counsel, 
From September 21 to October 7 the court met in Leipzig. From 


October 10 to November 18 it met in Berlin, in the Budget Committee 
Room of the Reichstag building, where the session chamber was 
still in process of repair. From November 23 to December 23 it met 
again in Leipzig, sitting in all for fifty-seven days. Ten stenographers 
filled ten thousand pages with testimony. Excerpts were recorded on 
seven thousand wax disks for broadcasting. Over a hundred witnesses 
were called from all parts of Europe. 

Van der Lubbe, led in with chains about his waist and wrists, sat 
through the proceedings in a stupor eyes dull, tousled head between 
his knees, mucus dripping from his mouth and nose. He answered 
questions by "Yes," "No," or "Can't say." He admitted his own guilt, 
refused to talk or to implicate his co-defendants, and occasionally 
mumbled incoherently. "Communist tactics," said the prosecution* 
"Imbecility," said foreign observers. Only twice was he aroused from 
his coma. When on October 20 Count Helldorf suddenly barked at 
him: "Mensch, mach dock den Kopf hochl Los!" Van der Lubbe 
slowly raised his head. "His master's voice," said unkind foreign 
reporters who suspected Helldorf of being one of the incendiaries. 
But the Dutchman denied knowing the Count. Then again on No- 
vember 23 Van der Lubbe roused himself and talked ramblingly and 
childishly : He could not agree with the way in which the trial was 
conducted; he had fired the Reichstag "for personal reasons" and had 
no accomplices; he wanted to be sentenced; he was tired of his cell, 
of chains, of too many meals, of "all this symbolism." He heard 
voices. . . . The subsequent interrogation revealed nothing. The 
experts said that he was sane and responsible. Others were skeptical. 
During the final plea of the prosecutor for his death, he fell asleep. 

The "hero" of the trial was Dimitroff. 1 Popoff and Taneff remained 
passive. Torgler defended himself ably and was conscientiously 
represented by Dr. Sack. He was thoroughly honest, intelligent, un- 
broken, and unafraid, but lacking in daring. Dimitroff was a lion 
a true professional revolutionary, a Communist ready to die for his 
faith, a scholar, a gentleman, a linguist, a master of irony, a veritable 
enfant terrible. No threats could silence him. He made speeches, 
cross-questioned witnesses, trapped perjurers in contradictions, ex- 
pressed his contempt for the court, sent the audience into gales of 
laughter with apt phrases, and dared to taunt even Goring and Goeb- 
bels. Five times he was excluded from the court-room. Five times 
1 Cf. Stcllc Blagoyeva: Dimitrov (New York: International Publishers; 1934). 


he came back and resumed his effective attacks on the prosecution. 
Even the stolid and testy Dr. Bunger came at last to respect him. In 
February 1933 he was unknown. By December he had won the ad- 
miration of half the world. 

Only the strategy of the prosecution need be reviewed here, and 
this only in part. Most of the prosecution witnesses were perjurers, 
stool-pigeons, criminals, or otherwise untrustworthy persons. The 
prosecution had no consistent plan. Its witnesses repeatedly contra- 
dicted themselves and one another, forgot things they had once 
remembered, remembered things they had once forgot, and tangled 
themselves up in a hopeless maze of lies and inconsistencies. A partial 
roll-call is illuminating: Ernst Panknin, labourer under arrest, averred 
confusedly that he had heard Van der Lubbe discuss arson with 
Neukolln "Communists." Paul Bogun, engineer, "identified" Po- 
poff as a man whom he thought he saw run from Portal 2 at nine 
o'clock. Leon Organistka, tramp, testified that he had met Van der 
Lubbe near Lake Constance in October 1932 (when Van der Lubbe 
was in Holland) and had heard him make threats against the Reichs- 
tag. Willi Hintze, convicted swindler, had "heard" Van der Lubbe 
plotting terror. Frau Helene Pretzsch, housewife and gossip, had 
seen Torgler carrying brief-cases, probably filled with "incendiary 
materials," on the morning of February 27. Wilhelm Hornemann, 
day porter at Portal 5, "remembered," after eight months' silent re- 
flection, that he had seen Dimitroff leave the Reichstag on the after- 
noon of February 27 (when Dimitroff was in Munich) and had 
heard him say: "The Reichstag may go up in the air in fifteen or 
twenty minutes." He had also seen Koenen acting "suspiciously" 
and had smelled gasoline. 

Berthold Karwahne, ex-Communist, and Kurt Frey, both Nazi 
members of the Reichstag, as well as Stefan Kroycr, a Nazi fugitive 
from Austria, swore solemnly that they had seen Torgler in the 
Reichstag talking with Van der Lubbe and Popoff. Major Hans 
Weberstedt, head of the Nazi Parliamentary Press Department, 
swore that he had smelled gasoline near the Communist Party room 
on February 27 and had seen Van der Lubbe and Taneff near by 
together. "A German officer does not lie!" he said pompously. Dr. 
Ernst Droschel, who had identified Dimitroff as one of the men who 
blew up the Sofia cathedral in 1925 (Dimitroff left Bulgaria in 1923), 
saw Torgler and Dimitroff in the Reichstag "from two to five days 


before the fire." When confronted with other men resembling the 
defendants, the Nazi witnesses declared it "quite impossible" that 
they could have been mistaken. All of which was sheer nonsense and 
invention. The five Nazis were never punished for perjury, though 
the poor defence witness Sonke was jailed for telling petty lies to 
shield himself. 

The other prosecution witnesses were, if possible, even more du- 
bious. Fraulein Willa Hartmann, an employee of the Prussian Diet, 
had seen Koenen in an elevator on the afternoon of February 21, 
giving "a funny look" to a man "resembling" Van der Lubbe. August 
Lebermann, thief and convict, asserted that Torgler offered him six- 
teen thousand marks in January 1932 to burn the Reichstag. Gerhard 
Hoeft, Nazi restaurateur, testified that Torgler was suspiciously un- 
excited when he heard the news of the fire at Aschinger's. Emil Sta- 
wicki testified that Torgler was suspiciously overexcited in his cafe 
later in the evening. Herr Zimmermann, journalist, swore that Tor- 
gler had told him on a train a few days before the fire: "When the 
beacon blazes up, the Nazis will creep into their holes." The miner, 
rapist, and ex-convict Otto Kunzack had been released from jail in 
order to "ferret out terrorist groups through their female associates." 
He had seen Van der Lubbe at a Communist meeting in Diisseldorf 
in 1925 and had observed Torgler in 1930 experimenting with ex- 
plosives in a forest near Berlin. He first met Torgler in his offices in 
the Karl Liebknecht House and heard him speak in the New World 
Gardens in Neukolln in 1930. (Torgler had no offices in the Karl 
Liebknecht House and spoke only once, in 1925, in the New World 

Other witnesses likewise "identified" various of the defendants 
in places where they had never been or at times when they were 
elsewhere. Popoff was seen with Communists in an apartment on 
Zechlinerstrasse, when he was in Russia. Frau Schreiber, charlady 
where Dimitroflf once lived in 1931, had seen him with German 
Communists and had incidentally ransacked his papers and accused 
him of trying to ravish her! Otto Groethe, labourer, related how he 
had been told that the firing of the Reichstag was plotted by Thal- 
mann in the Karl Liebknecht House, and that all the defendants 
had met in the Tiergarten on the afternoon of February 27 to plan 
the conflagration. His "informants," when summoned, expressed 
doubts of his sanity. There followed a convict, an inmate of a con- 


ccntration camp, a police official, several detectives, a Ph.D. who read 
a paper on Communist theory, several arrested Communists, a luna- 
tic, and at the end several more Communists from scattered villages, 
one of whom said he had signed a confession under threats of being 
beaten by S.A. men. 

Several prominent personalities of the NSDAP lent colour to the 
proceedings. Count Helldorf denied the charges in the Brown Boof^. 
Lieutenant Schultze, Feme murderer, proved that he was in Bavaria 
in February 1933. Edmund Heines asserted on November 6: "I 
should like to say quite openly that we S.A. comrades hardly under- 
stand the forbearance with which the accused in this trial are being 
treated." He had not led any incendiaries through the tunnel on 
February 27. He had been making a speech in Gleiwitz, Goebbels 
appeared on November 8 also to refute the Brown Boo\. Goring 
on November 5 told of his fight against Communism. Dimitrofl 
boldly accused Goring of lies and misrepresentations. The corpulent 
Minister grew red with anger. He shouted: "You behave yourself 
brazenly. You come here, burn the Reichstag, and then behave your- 
self impudently in the face of the German people. Your place is on 
the gallows!" "Are you afraid of these questions?" asked DimitrofT, 
while judge Bunger bawled: "Out with him!" Dimitroflf retorted: 
"I am satisfied," as policemen dragged him from the chamber. 
Goring screamed at the top of his voice: "I am not afraid of you, 
you scoundrel. I am not here to be questioned by you. . . . You 
crook, you belong on the gallows! You will be sorry yet, if I catch 
you when you come out of prison!" 

The prosecution had failed miserably to prove its case. Its wit- 
nesses who were reliable incriminated nobody save Van der Lubbe. 
The others lied so clumsily that even the judges were embarrassed. 
While the Brown Boo^ version of the fire was in part refuted, the 
possibility of Nazi complicity was by no means excluded by the 
evidence. All that was proved was that the State had no case against 
four of the defendants, nor against the KPD, and that a Dutch half- 
wit had burned some curtains and furniture. But Dr. Werner, in his 
ten-hour closing plea on December 13-14, asked the death of Van 
der Lubbe for high treason and arson, the execution of Torgler for 
high treason, and the acquittal of the Bulgarians for lack of proof. The 
evidence upon which Torgler was accused was exactly comparable to 


the evidence against the Bulgarians. But Werner insisted that Torgler 
was implicated "in some sort of fashion." Dr. Teichert for the defence 
concurred in asking the acquittal of the Bulgarians. Dr. Seuffert 
argued that Van der Lubbe's connections with Communists had not 
been demonstrated and that he was guilty of arson, but not of treason; 
a heavy prison sentence should suffice. Dr. Sack defended himself 
from criticism and assailed the attack upon Torgler. The prosecution 
had proved nothing and Torgler should be acquitted. DimitrofF 
delivered himself of a concluding philippic on December 16, attack- 
ing Fascism, defending Communism, and asking compensation "for 
his wasted time." Turning to Van der Lubbe bitterly, he declared: 

"There sits this stupid dupe, the shabby Faust, but Mephistopheles 
is absent. The alliance was struck in Hennigsdorf between political 
madness and political provocation. Van der Lubbe is no Communist; 
he is not even an anarchist; he is a rebellious ragamuffin." x 

On December 23, 1933, the court delivered its verdict: 

"The accused Torgler, Dimitroflf, PopofT, and TanefJ, are ac- 
quitted. The accused Van der Lubbe is condemned, for high treason 
in the overt act of insurrectionary arson and for attempted arson, to 
death and the permanent loss of civic rights." 2 

In reading the grounds for the judgment, Dr. Biinger defended 
the Nazis and said strangely that it hacl been proved that the fire 
was the work of Communists and "that the German people, early in 
1933, was in peril of delivery to Communism and thus had stood on 
the verge of the abyss from which it had been saved in the last 
moment." In the court's opinion, Van der Lubbe had not fired the 
Reichtag alone. He acted "in deliberate co-operation with others." 
But the others were unknown. The various "identifications" were 

"All things considered, it must be affirmed that the deed was an 
act of high treason undertaken by the KPD. Torgler, Dimitroff, 
PopofT, and TanefT cannot be regarded as convicted of complicity in 
the overt act. On the other hand, Van der Lubbe fired the Reichstag 
in conscious co-operation with unknown accomplices. ... In doing 
so he pursued the treasonable aims of the KPD, which were to bring 
about a violent upheaval leading to the erection of the proletarian 

1 Douglas Rccd: The Burning of the Reichstag, p. 328. 

2 Ibid., p. 330. 


dictatorship by inflaming the masses and provoking a general 
strike." * 

The verdict was hailed in the foreign press as a "triumph of jus- 
tice" and in the Nazi press as a "travesty on justice." 2 The public 
beheading of Van der Lubbe never took place. He sat apathetically 
in his cell, giving no evidence of activity in his dark and befuddled 
brain. On December 27 the Dutch government protested against the 
death penalty, on the ground that it was based on an ex post jacto 
law. The protest was unavailing. In great secrecy the Fourth Penal 
Chamber met for the last time on the morning of January 10, 1934, 
in the yard of the Leipzig Provincial Court. Doctors Werner and 
Parisius were there, as well as the prison chaplain (whose services 
Van der Lubbe rejected), the prison governor, two doctors, twelve 
citizens, and a gentleman in a top hat, evening dress, and white 
gloves: the executioner. Van der Lubbe was led out. His twenty- 
fourth birthday was three days away. He had killed no one and 
injured no one. Ten years before, another young building-trades 
labourer had engaged in open treason and had brought death to 
eighteen young men. For this he had served fourteen months in jail. 
He was now Chancellor of the Reich. But Van der Lubbe must die. 
He shambled listlessly, his head down and saliva dripping from his 
gaping mouth. There was ho ax, but a guillotine. Van der Lubbe 
obediently laid his tousled head on the board. He made no motion 
as he was fastened in. A momentary pause, the swift fall of the heavy 
blade, a thud in the bloody sawdust. Van der Lubbe's family re- 
quested the removal of the body to Holland. The request was refused 
perhaps out of fear that some strange discovery might be made. 
The remains were interred at Leipzig on the i5th. 

Torgler remained in jail. Thalmann and other Communist leaders 
have also been in jail since March 1933. They are presumably to be 
tried before the new "People's Court." As for the three Bulgarians, 
Goring's violent threats remained unfulfilled. On February 15, 1934, 
the government of the U.S.S.R. made them Soviet citizens and at 
once demanded that they be released to Russia. Whether the Hitler 
Cabinet welcomed this opportunity of getting rid of the prisoners or 
resisted the demand is uncertain. If, as reported, Goring and Hitler 

1 Ibid., p. 335-6. 

2 V.B., December 24, 1933, "Das Fehlurteil von Leipzig" with interesting criticisms 
of the "formal juristic grounds** of the judgment and of "foreign liberal ideas," ac- 
companied by a plea for judicial reform and "true German justice." 


quarrelled over the issue, the will of Der Fiihrer prevailed. On Feb- 
ruary 27 the Bulgarians were placed aboard a plane bound for the 
Soviet capital. Dimitroflf, defiant to the last, said that if he ever re- 
turned, it would be to a German Soviet republic. The refugees were 
received as heroes in Moscow. 




Ox JUNE 24, 1953 the V.B. and, on official command, all other 
German papers carried the following news item, prominently 
featured on the front page: 



The Catastrophic Results of the Ban on Police 
Planes for Germany 

Away with the Unendurable Chains of the 
Versailles Treaty! 

This afternoon airplanes of a type unknown in Germany ap- 
peared over Berlin and threw down, over the government quarters 
and over the east of Berlin, leaflets with a text attacking the Reich 
government. Since the air police had no planes of its own at its 
disposal and the sport planes summoned from the air-field could 
not achieve the speed of the foreign planes, they remain unidenti- 

This event illustrates vividly the intolerable situation in which 
Germany today finds herself. Airplanes of a type hitherto unseen 
in Germany can appear without hindrance over the government 
buildings and throw down leaflets with unheard-of insults to the 
German Reich. 

The next day thousands of posters throughout the nation screamed: 



"This time Hetz-bldtterl Next time bombs!? Germany must have 
planes! Luftschutz tut Not!" When foreign correspondents inquired 
about the details of the "raid," which no one had observed at the 
time, they were told that three "enemy" planes of unprecedented 
speed had flown over the city at a height of nine thousand feet 
invisible to most Berliners because of a light fog. No one could 
produce a sample of the leaflets. It was officially explained that they 
had fallen only in Wilhelmstrasse and that their contents were such 
that they could not be divulged. Millions of Germans were impressed 
with the defencelessness of the Reich. The foreign correspondents 
were impressed only with Goring's ingenuity and with his naivete. 

The Reichsluftschutzbund (RLE) was founded on April 28, 1933, 
by Goring. Lieutenant-General Grimm and Major Waldschmitt 
headed its presidium. It was organized into fifteen Landesgruppen, 
with each of these divided into Ortsgruppen. Local police stations are 
everywhere used as recruiting offices. The work of the Air Defence 
League is supported by manufacturers of gas-masks, chemicals, and 
building-materials, who advertise their wares in its two periodicals, 
Dcr Reichsluftschtttz and Deutsche Flugillustrierte. It carries its 
message daily to the entire public by lectures, films, posters, pictures, 
pamphlets, books, magazines, training schools, demonstrations, and 
incessant advertising. A typical meeting proceeds as follows: 

Time: 11.30 any Sunday morning. Place: Any large cinema theatre 
in Berlin or any other large German city. Occasion: Lujtschutz- 
appcl! Posters are plastered all over the neighbourhood billboards: 
"Nine Thousand Enemy Airplanes Menace Germany!" Outside on 
the walk an S.A. band, smartly attired in brown uniforms, plays 
military music. The Berliner burghers are present en masse, fat, 
well dressed, and seemingly unfatigued by the church services from 
which many of them have just come. The crowd overflows the lobby 
and there are hundreds in the street who will be unable to obtain 
seats. Inside, there is a stir of suppressed excitement and anticipatory 
appreciation of promised thrills. The interior of the theatre has been 
decorated with flags. The S.A. band retires to the stage. As the cur- 
tains part, the air vibrates with the martial rhythm of bugles, trum- 
pets, and drums. After each number the conductor clicks his heels 
and responds to the applause with the Fascist salute. 

At length a smallish S.A. man appears behind the improvised 
pulpit, decorated with swastikas. He is a district leader of the brown 


army. He salutes, repeats with solemn emphasis the current slogans 
of the Reichsluftschutzbund ("Air Protection is Self-Protection 1" 
"Air Protection is the Need of the Hour!" "Air Protection is a 
National Duty!" etc.), and introduces the lecturer. The latter is a 
war veteran, an S.A. major, an oldish thundering man with thin lips, 
grey hair, a belted -paunch, and bowed legs in leather knee-boots. 
A collection of military decorations glitters on his natty brown 
uniform. He clicks his heels, salutes, and bellows: "Heil Hitlerl" 
The audience responds as one man with a salute and an answering 
"Heill" He begins: 

Vol^esgenossen und Volfesgenossinnen! The next war will be 
won in the air and on the home front. Let us not forget that the 
last war was not lost on the battlefield. The civilians lost their nerve, 
and the army was stabbed in the back by the Jewish-Marxist traitors. 
If we had held out only two months more, we should have had a 
very different peace. In the next war civilian morale will be even 
more decisive. The enemy will seek to paralyse the home front by 
means of air-raids. Treaties? Does anyone expect treaties to be ob- 
served in war? League of Nations? The Geneva Disarmament 
comedy? (The major snorts and chortles. The audience titters.) We 
shall soon make an end of all that! Protection against air-raids is not 
to be improvised on short notice. The need is for action now. The 
need is for action by civilians, by the whole population, by everybody 
especially by women, for women's services are particularly impor- 
tant in air defence. The best defence against bombers is attack by 
pursuit planes and by anti-aircraft guns. But these are forbidden to 
Germany by the damnable Treaty of Versailles. Civilian self-help is 
the only refuge of a defenceless people. 

What is the danger which we face? France had 4,500 military 
planes, Belgium 400, Czechoslovakia 950, Poland 1,000. Within two 
hours enemy bombers can reach any city in the Reich from the fron- 
tiers! (The Major becomes terrifying. His hearers grow tense.) There 
are no more border cities. Berlin is a border city. Planes from Posen 
or Prague can reach Berlin in an hour! Germany's strategic situation 
is appalling. We are menaced from all sides. Lujtschutz tut Notl 
But let no one believe wild tales. Berlin can not be destroyed over- 
night. All its inhabitants can not be gassed by enemy squadrons. 
Such stories are nonsense or treason. There are not enough explo- 
sives, not enough gas, not enough planes in the world to accomplish 


this. The real danger is sufficiently terrible. No one can guarantee 
one hundred per cent protection. But adequate defence measures 
will be effective // the population is awakened, educated, and, above 
all, strictly disciplined. (Applause.) 

What is to be done? First, against explosive bombs: These are 
highly destructive only to upper storeys of buildings and to people 
in crowds. When the alarm is given, all market-places, streets, tram- 
ways, schools, theatres, factories, etc., must be evacuated promptly. 
The populace must take refuge in bomb-proof basements. Huge 
mine-bombs, weighing a thousand kilograms or more, can of course 
destroy whole buildings, cellars included. But (the Major is reassur- 
ing) these are much too expensive for general bombing operations 
against civilians. . , . Second, gas-bombs: The refuge cellars must 
be gas-proof. Sanitary and hospital corps, the police and fire brigades 
will be equipped with gas-masks. Everyone should, if possible, secure 
a gas-mask. Mustard gas is most dangerous, as it attacks both skin 
and lungs. But sanitary precautions and prompt treatment are effec- 
tive. Third: incendiary bombs. These are most difficult to combat, 
for they are small and each plane can carry several hundred. Forty 
per cent of such bombs thrown out over a city will land on roofs 
and generate an intense heat within a few seconds. No fire depart- 
ment can cope with this menace. Onty civilian self-help will suffice. 

The necessary work is already under way. All attics are being 
cleared of inflammable rubbish. In one raid in Schoneberg fifteen old 
featherbeds were discovered in an attic (laughter). Such negligence 
is criminal! It may endanger hundreds of lives. All attics must be 
cleared, and every attic floor must be covered with bricks, cement, 
or at least several inches of dry sand. There must be several water- 
pails and a sand-barrel. Only dry sand will quench fire-bombs. Base- 
ments are already being cleared out and equipped with reinforced 
ceilings and first-aid stations. Every house must have a roof-watcher 
who will be responsible for attic service when the alarm is given. 
At least ten per cent of the population must be enlisted if Luftschutz 
is to be effective. The goal of the RLE in greater Berlin is a member- 
ship of four hundred thousand. 

This task (the Major concludes with patriotic flourishes) is a 
peculiar responsibility of the Nationalsocialist movement. It is 
"national" because it concerns the defence of the Fatherland. It is 
"social" because it concerns the entire community: bombs will fall 


with complete impartiality on rich and poor, employers and workers, 
Aryans and yes, even on Jews! All must help! Save the Fatherland! 
Join the Luftschutzbund! * 

The RLB has carried on its work with great vigour and efficiency. 
Goring's public appeal for police planes after the "raid" of June 23 
brought no response from foreign capitals. The Bund therefore 
issued an appeal on July 12 for the co-operation of the whole people 
in preparing to resist air-attacks. 2 Neurath, in an interview with the 
foreign press on September 21, professed the pacific aims of German 
foreign policy, but demanded protection against air-raids. 3 Striking 
coloured posters, showing Berlin in flames under the attack of dozens 
of huge enemy bombers, called the citizenry to action: "Save Your- 
selves in the RLBt" A decree of the Ministry of Finance of October 
10 specified that all expenditures for Luftschutz that is, the con- 
struction of shelters, reinforcement of walls and roofs, purchase of 
fire-pumps, extinguishers, alarm signals, etc. might be deducted in 
making out income-tax returns, provided that the expenditures were 
made in the course of a single year. 4 In November the first great 
Lujtschutz exposition in Berlin was opened on Alexanderplatz. 
Staatssekretar Milch announced that the Bund had 1,400 Orts- 
gruppen and over 750,000 members throughout the Reich. 5 "Every 
German must become a flyer!'* was the slogan/' For the first time in 
the demilitarized Rhineland, a mock air-raid on Cologne was elab- 
orately staged on April 18, 1934. The Berlin municipal authorities 
appropriated 8,652,000 marks for Lujtschutz in the same month and 
announced a loan of 7,000,000 marks for the construction of bomb- 
proof shelters. 

At the end of April 1934 the Bund had 2,000 Ortsgruppen and 
2,500,000 members. By January i, 1935, it had 5,000,000 members, 
including 1,800,000 officers. Exhibits and meetings arc arranged in 
every city in the Reich. On many street intersections terrifying models 
of enormous bombs have been erected. The RLB works in co-oper- 
ation with the building and chemical industries, the Luftsportver- 

1 This description is taken from the writer's article, written in Berlin: "Germany Pre- 
pares Fear," New Republic, February 7, 1934. 

2 Berliner Ta%cblatt, July 12, 1933. 

3 V.B., September 22, 1933. 

4 Berliner Tageblatt, October 19 and November 5, 1933. 
r> Ibid., November 25, 1953. 

6 Cf. the regular V.B. supplement on "Lujtschutz' 1 and "Die Litltrustungcn der 


band (an association of private pilots and sportsmen), and Goring's 
Aviation Corps, a uniformed and disciplined body of aviators em- 
ployed by the Luft Hansa. "German Air-Sports Week" was inau- 
gurated in June 1934. "The German people shall become a nation 
of flyers," declared Goring. 1 Lectures, radio talks, films, plays, ex- 
hibits, and torch-light parades were organized everywhere. Flyers 
collected funds in all cities for the cause. On October 22 the RLE, 
the Commissar for Berlin, the Chief of Police, and the Association 
of Berlin House- and Real-estate-Owners announced that "heavily 
armed foreign powers force the Germans to take immediate steps 
to protect women and children against air-attacks." All house-own- 
ers were called upon to construct a bomb-proof shelter in every 
dwelling and to contribute five marks each to a fund to assist less 
prosperous owners to construct safety cellars at once. 2 By the close 
of the year over seven thousand air-raid cellars had been constructed 
throughout the Reich. 

Such activities, apart from their obvious strategic utility in the 
coming "war of liberation," are of primary significance as a means 
of manufacturing national unity and evoking mass consent to the 
dictatorship. Fear of the concentration camp and the ax is always a 
less effective device for the mobilization of acquiescence than the 
systematic inculcation of fear of foreign "enemies." Hatred of the 
out-group creates unity of the in-group. Ethnocentrism and xeno- 
phobia are opposite facets of the same coin. The bonds of unity 
which are thus created render more secure the position of the elite. 
The feudal nobility ruled by force and magic. The ascendant bour- 
geoisie of the democratic era ruled by nationalism. The decadent 
bourgeoisie and its Fascist spokesmen of the post-war epoch rule by 
the inculcation of mass paranoia and megalomania. 

In order that the already established responses of aversion toward 
Frenchmen, Poles, Czechs, et al., might be transformed into fear 
and hatred, it was necessary for the NSDAP to undermine the most 
basic security-feelings of the German populace. Even depictions of 
the horrors of war, usually regarded as good pacifist propaganda, 
may be used to evoke feelings of insecurity, fear, and hatred, the 
fountainheads of militarism, rather than a love of peace. They are 
so used in the Third Reich. When the populace has been reduced to 

1 Cf. Wilhclm II: "Our future lies upon the sea." 

2 The New York Times, October 23, 1934. 


a state of terror, when aversion has been transmuted into panic and 
rage, when thousands are prepared to adopt any measures which 
offer promise of safety, the political elite steps forth as the great 
defender of women, children, widows, orphans, farms, factories, and 
homesteads from the cruelty, pillage, and rapine threatened by the 
outer barbarians. It calls upon all to save themselves by common 
efforts. The regime thus becomes the beneficiary of the insecurities 
which it has created, since loyalty to leaders is the first law of self- 

This technique, familiar to all ruling classes and utilized effec- 
tively by diplomats, superpatriots, and armament-manufacturers 
everywhere, has been perfected and applied with extraordinary 
results in the Third Reich. One of its most interesting collateral as- 
pects is to be found in the use of foreign "atrocity stories" to stir up 
patriotic resentment. Far from seeking to prevent the German masses 
from learning what is said about their government in the foreign 
press, Goebbels and his subordinates have consistently dramatized 
the more unfavourable foreign comments. They have in effect said: 
"See how we are lied about abroad. Germany wants peace and work. 
All is quiet and happy in the Reich. But abroad they say we are law- 
less, barbarous, and disorderly. Germans! Protect yourselves from 
such lies. Rally to the defence of your honour and your Fatherland!" 
The formula works like magic. Dozens of former liberals or radicals, 
originally hostile to the NSDAP, informed the writer during 1933 
that, while they did not approve of the dictatorship, they were shocked 
at the "lies about Germany" printed abroad, and, as good Germans, 
would at least support their government in repudiating such shame- 
less atrocity stories. 


"WE MUST no longer have a pacific conception of peace. In the 
Middle Ages it was otherwise. The existence of the individual had 
no exaggerated importance. Pacifist literature depicts death on the 
field of battle as an unnatural death because it does not understand 
the ancient Germanic horror of death on a bed, and arteriosclerosis 
appears to it more virile than a bullet. Pacifists dwell on the horrors 
of the war dead as if a peace corpse were more aesthetic. The repre- 
sentatives of the national revolution are men and soldiers who are 


physically and morally warriors." 

Thus Vice-Chancellor von Papen, who carefully kept out of the 
trenches during the Great War and who is now safely beyond mili- 
tary age, characterized the values and ideals of the Third Reich in a 
speech to a Stahlhelm gathering at Miinster on May 13, 1933. In 
October 1933 Baldur von Schirach, Nazi youth leader, declared at 
the unveiling of a war memorial in Westphalia, consisting of a 
statue of the (Aryan?) Archangel Michael: 

"Here we will not speak the warm words of peace, the words 
'home' and 'Fatherland/ Our words are spoken in the face of the 
awful summons of war. Youths, your hands are now raised in an 
oath before this monument which is erected to the sublimity of 
bloodshed and Michael is the Angel of Death and you are swear- 
ing that your lives belong to the Reich, and your blood to Der 
Fiihrer." * 

The pan-German nationalism and the Heldentum militarism of 
the NSDAP, as well as the psychological and political exigencies 
which gave rise to these attitudes, have been discussed above. 2 The 
history of Nazi foreign policy is outside the scope of the present 
volume. 3 

It will nevertheless be necessary to review the conceptions of na- 
tional interest and foreign policy which prevail in the Third Reich, 
if the implications of the particular political weapons here under 
consideration are to be appreciated. In the cult of militarism the 
good citizen of the new Germany preceives nothing incongruous or 
pathological. He has long since learned to relish, with Teutonic 
earnestness and enthusiasm, many things which to outsiders seem 
perverse or tragic or indubitably mad. Every day in every German 
city he cheers endless parades of troops S.A., S.S., Stahlhelm, 
Reichswehr, police and, by scores and by hundreds, he follows 
each parade through the streets for the sheer joy of goose-stepping, 
head high, chest out, and a strange light in his eyes. He goes in 
thousands to the Deutsche Koloniale Austellung on Potsdamer- 
strasse, for he sees nothing queer in a country without colonies hav- 
ing a colonial exposition. Over the door he reads, in flaming letters: 

1 London Times, October 31, 1933. 

2 Cf. pp. 1246. above. 

8 Cf. F. L. Schuman: "Nazi Dreams of World Power," Current History, February 1934; 

"The Third Reich's Road to War," Annals of the American Academy, September 1934; 

"The Conduct of German Foreign Affairs," Annals, November 1934. 


" 'Never forget that the most holy right in this world is the right to 
land, and that the most hallowed of sacrifices is the blood which one 
sheds for this land' Adolf Hitler." (Hitler is an anti-colonialist and 
his words refer to territories in eastern Europe which the new 
Germany is to conquer, but this is a minor incongruity.) Crowds of 
Berliners daily throng the war show Die Front, on Unter den Lin- 
den. "As it really was!" the signs announce. There are no horrors 
within, only heroism, victories, and graphic appeals for German 
rearmament. Lecturers lead crowds of schoolboys through the ex- 
hibits and fire their hearts with hero-tales. Their eyes glow with envy 
and admiration . . . and with hope. 

The old militarism involved domination of civil authorities by 
the imperial army. The new militarism involves almost universal 
civilian warrior-worship, sponsored not by the Reichswehr but by 
the "civil" Nazi authorities. For reasons of internal policy and 
diplomatic expediency the Nazi leaders rejected the theory of the 
next war held by the Reichswehr High Command that is, that it 
will be a contest between small, professional, highly mechanized 
field armies. They preach incessantly the more heroic doctrine of a 
war between whole peoples or at least did so until "Bloody Satur- 
day" removed some of the apostles of the "nation-in-arms." Their 
task was set for them years ago by Der Fiihrer: 

"The question of a restoration of German power is not a question 
of how to fabricate arms, but a question of how to create the spirit 
which makes a people capable of bearing arms. If this spirit domi- 
nates a people, the will finds a thousand ways to secure weapons." 
(Mein Kampf, p. 365.) 

To the creation of this spirit the present German leaders are devot- 
ing all their genius as propagandists and all that profound knowledge 
of German mob psychology which enabled them to secure power. 
"War-mindedness," like "race-mindedness," is stimulated by high- 
pressure advertising and collective suggestion. Despite the preva- 
lence of this ideology (or, in another sense, because of it), the leaders 
of the NSDAP have never ceased to profess their undying devotion 
to peace. Their various peace pronouncements would fill a large 

These pacifistic verbalizations on the part of the leaders of a dicta- 
torship in which all pacifism is ruthlessly suppressed would deserve 
to be taken at their face value only if they bore some demonstrable 


relationship to the obvious determinants of German foreign policy. 
Their only relevance to these determinants is that they reflect the 
necessity of gaining time time to rearm, time to find allies, time to 
set the stage for a "war of liberation" that may be fought with some 
prospect of success. 

This judgment assumes that the foreign policies of Great Powers 
are not created in a vacuum, but are a product of forces and pressures 
largely independent of any particular group of individuals. The 
underlying presuppositions behind this evaluation are these: the 
State is an institutionalization of power relationships between social 
groups; the State, in its contacts with other States, is an embodiment 
of power and an expression of the will-to-power of its elite; all inter- 
national politics is a competition, by diplomacy or by arms, for 
power, for the means of power, for the fruits of power, and for the 
components thereof population, territory, colonies, markets, arma- 
ments, shipping, raw materials, etc.; each elite and each ruling 
group within an elite defines the stakes of diplomacy (that is, the 
content of its power interests) in terms of its own values and ide- 
ology. But the broad direction of this striving, and its orientation 
toward the existing distribution of power between States, are de- 
termined by geographical position and by the outcome of the last 
armed contest. Victorious "satiated'* States seek to preserve the 
status quo of which they are the beneficiaries; they therefore cham- 
pion "peace" and "security." Defeated "unsatiated" States seek to 
modify the status quo of which they are the victims; they therefore 
champion "justice" and "equality." In the absence of an international 
constitutional consensus in terms of which conflicts for power can 
be pacifically reconciled, the ultimate method of maintaining or 
modifying a given status quo is armed coercion. Dominant States 
accordingly insist upon preserving military superiority over poten- 
tial disturbers of the peace. Oppressed States strive equally for a 
restoration of a balance of power which may some day be upset to 
their own advantage. 

When two such groups of States crystallize into coalitions com- 
peting with one another as power blocs, each controversy between 
foreign offices tends to become a major "diplomatic crisis" involving 
danger of armed conflict between the two groups. Unsatiated States, 
striving for a brighter place in the sun, often appear to be "aggres- 
sors," since they must take the initiative if the status quo is to be 


modified. Satiated States, defending their gains, often appear to be 
victims of aggression, since passive maintenance of the existing dis- 
tribution of power best serves their interests. In the long run, the 
behaviour of the Powers follows this pattern, modified at times by 
institutions of co-operation and of pacific settlement and by symbols, 
ideologies, and principles of law which transcend national frontiers. 
In particular crises clever diplomats may be able to create the illusion 
of a reversal of the roles. Germany, unsatiated and ascending in the 
power scale, was "attacked" by France in 1870. Serbia, unsatiated 
and irredentist, was "attacked" by Austria-Hungary after Sarajevo. 
The unsatiated Entente was "attacked" by the Central Powers in 
August 1914. It is the task of the diplomat to pave the way for the 
defeat of the enemy and to make the enemy appear the aggressor 
when the time is ripe for a test of force. 1 

An application of this formulation to the Reich suggests the perma- 
nent determinants of its international behaviour and leads to a solu- 
tion of the paradox presented by militaristic superpatriots profess- 
ing peace. As a State defeated, humiliated, partitioned, and disarmed, 
Germany's orientation toward the distribution of power incorporated 
in the Treaty of Versailles admits of not the slightest doubt. Ger- 
many, like Hungary, Italy, and, in a somewhat different sense, 
Japan, is an unsatiated "revisionist" Power. The most elementary 
considerations of diplomacy and strategy demand that those en- 
trusted with the formulation of a German foreign policy strive to 
recover equality of status, freedom of action, an equilibrium of 
armaments, and a restoration of a balance of power between the 
victors and the vanquished of 1918. These have been the consistent 
aims of every Chancellor and Foreign Minister since June 28, 1919. 
In the Weimar republic, as in the Third Reich, diplomatic and mili- 
tary impotence dictated professions of peace and conciliatory poli- 
cies. The liberal ideology of the republican Foreign Ministers 
for example, Rathenau, Stresemann, Briining perhaps dignified 
these professions and policies into "principles" rather than mere 
opportunistic expedients. The ultimate goal, in any case, was a re- 
covery of equality and freedom to act. The means adopted achieved 
no territorial changes and no grant of actual equality in armaments. 

1 For a more extended presentation of this thesis, sec the writer's War and Diplomacy 
in the French Republic (New York: McGraw-Hill; 1931), pp. 401-22, and Inter- 
national Politics (New York: McGraw-Hill; 1933), pp. 491-532. 


But they achieved a rapprochement with Russia in 1922, the evacua- 
tion of the Ruhr, the fixing of reparations on a more reasonable basis 
in the Dawes Plan of 1924, the Locarno Pacts of 1925, the admission 
of Germany to the League in 1926, the evacuation of the Rhineland 
in 1930, the virtual termination of reparations in 1932, and a pledge 
of arms equality "in principle." 

These accomplishments could be persuasively presented as "de- 
feats" by Nazi spokesmen, since patriotic expectations and diplo- 
matic possibilities were at all times far apart. The general objectives, 
as determined by geography and by Versailles, were not changed 
through the seizure of power by the NSDAP. Specific means to ends 
were in part modified by the Nazi Weltanschauung. The ultimate 
goals were clarified and reformulated. The repudiation of repara- 
tions and the emancipation of the Rhineland from alien military oc- 
cupation were already achieved. For the rest, the foreign policy of 
Hitler, Rosenberg, Goring, and Thyssen reflects the interests and 
values of monopolistic capital seeking markets, of Junkers seeking 
land and glory, and of an ultra-patriotic peasantry and Kleinbiir- 
gertum seeking honour, the illusions of might, and the psychic 
gratifications of a collective Napoleonism. 

The Realpolitil^ program of Nazi imperialism has been stated so 
clearly and so frequently that it adrilits of no debate. The Conti- 
nental territories lost in 1919 must be recovered. A pan-German State, 
embracing all of the eighty million German-speaking peoples of 
Europe, must be created with the Swiss, the Dutch, the Flemings, 
and the Scandinavians as appendages. Overseas colonies and naval 
power are unimportant. Territories and markets in the Danube 
basin and in eastern Europe are indispensable. The Reich must there- 
fore secure a free hand in the east in order to invade, conquer, and 
partition the Ukraine and Russia. This ambition was stated in the 
V.B. as early as January 1921, and was made part of the Nazi program 
by the potash magnate, Arnold Rechburg, and by Alfred Rosenberg. 
For this purpose Anschluss with Austria, the dissolution of the Little 
Entente, the termination of the Franco-Polish alliance, and the 
breaking of French hegemony are prerequisites. The status-quo bloc 
will thus be disintegrated. 

The ultimate goals cannot be attained without war. Victory in war 
requires at least equality of armaments with the prospective enemy. 
If possible, British and Italian aid against France must be secured. 


If this is impossible, then temporary bargains with Hungary and 
Poland must be sought, and perhaps with the Baltic States and Jugo- 
slavia. Thus, arms and allies may be secured and the final reckoning 
may be scheduled for such a date as will coincide with the low ebb 
of French power and the high tide of Germanic ascendancy. German 
"self-respect" will -thus be recovered. The tradition of Teutonic in- 
vincibility will be restored. France will be crushed and the ''Drang 
nach Osten" will be resumed. 


THE program outlined above is a product of the Nazi Weltanschau- 
ung. This in turn has been shaped by the traumas and frustrations 
of patriotic soldiers who have come to glorify and idealize the very 
experience namely, war which has wounded them, broken them, 
and converted them into physical, spiritual, and mental wrecks. 
As the dictators of the Third Reich, these casualties of the trenches 
must evoke consent by the dramatization of national dangers, by the 
inculcation of military heroism, by the incessant preaching of war 
and revenge. Only thus can they identify themselves with bourgeois- 
peasant patriotism and distract the attention of the proletariat from 
its poverty. Militarism is indispensable for the amusement of the 
masses. It is equally indispensable for the satisfaction of the classes 
whose interests the NSDAP has always served. For Junkers it means 
military careers, glory, and lands in the east. For industrialists it 
means orders for guns, planes, tanks, and artillery, as well as new 
sources of raw material, new markets for goods, new fields for lucra- 
tive investment, all to be won by the sword. These arc the permanent 
values and interests which must be served by Nazi foreign policy. 
All else is a temporary expedient. 

The program has thus far been pursued with that singular obtuse- 
ness toward the psychological imponderables which has frequently 
characterized German diplomacy. Foreign opinion has been alien- 
ated by clumsy anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi propaganda disseminated 
by the APA, the Auslands Organisation of the party, the Deutsche 
Auslands Institut, the foreign branches of the NSDAP, the Fichte- 
Bund, the various agencies championing "Deittschtum im Ausland," 
and, with regard to the United States, by the Steuben Society, the 
German headquarters of the Carl Schurz Association, the Amcrika 


Institut, and the "Friends of New Germany." These activities have 
been designed to enlist sympathy and support by fostering anti- 
Semitic and anti-Marxist sentiment. In America and England they 
have provoked official investigation, unofficial anti-German boycotts, 
and widespread popular hostility toward the Third Reich. The late 
Ivy Lee, "public-relations adviser" to numerous American corpora- 
tions, was paid twenty-five thousand dollars by the German Dye 
Trust to manufacture American friendship for Germany, 1 Nazi 
propaganda in the United States reached such proportions in 1933 
that it led to exposures, indictments, and the appointment of a Con- 
gressional investigating committee headed by Representative Dick- 
stein of New York. 2 In Rumania comparable activities produced 
rioting by the Fascist "Iron Guard" and the assassination of Premier 
Duca in December 1933. Nazi propaganda in Czechoslovakia and 
Jugoslavia have bred resentment and suspicion. To add insult to 
injury, the Nazi leaders have repeatedly denied that they conduct 
any propaganda abroad. 3 But Goebbels alone spent millions of marks 
for such purposes, until Schacht, in September 1934, indicated that 
such wholly unprofitable expenditures must be reduced. 4 

Italy, comracle-in-Fascism and hoped-for ally, has been similarly 
alienated by persistent Nazi efforts to dominate Austria and to erect 
a Germany of seventy million people at the Brenner Pass, certain to 
press southward toward Bolzano and Trieste. Instead of capitalizing 
on Franco-Italian rivalry in the Mediterranean, Nazi policy in Aus- 
tria has thrown Rome and Paris into more intimate and friendly 
contact than has existed at any time since 1919. Austrian independ- 
ence was indeed terminated, but Austria became an Italian depend- 
ency, not a German province. Austria was indeed driven to Fascism 
in 1933, but to the anti-German, anti-Nazi, pro-Italian Fascism of 
Dollfuss and the Heimwehr. On February 17, 1934, following the 
slaughter of the Socialist workers of Vienna and the conversion of 
the Austrian government into a kind of branch of the Italian Foreign 
Office, the British, French, and Italian governments, acting jointly 
against Berlin for the first time in many years, issued a warning that 
Austrian "independence" must be respected. When sporadic terror- 

* The New Yor% Times, July 12, 1934. 

2 Cf . Today (Raymond Moley, ed.) March 31, April 7, April 14, 1934. 

8 Cf. The New Yor^ Times, December 10, 1933 and August 15, 1934 (HanfstangI), 

and V.B., November i, 1933 (Hitler). 

4 The New York Times, September 5, 1934. 


ism, economic pressure, and mass revolution all failed to produce the 
desired result, Hitler met Mussolini in Venice in mid-June 1934 and 
gave "assurances" that there would be no more German interference 
in Austrian affairs. On July 25 an unsuccessful Nazi putsch led to the 
assassination of Dollfuss, the mobilization of Italian troops on the 
Austrian border, and the bloody repression of the Austrian Nazis. 
More "disclaimers" and "assurances" followed, with the clever Papen 
sent to Vienna to restore "friendly relations." Even Jugoslavia, Italy's 
traditional enemy across the Adriatic, has not been brought into the 
German orbit. The trade treaty of May 1934 has not been followed by 
a political entente, thanks to Serbian doubts as to the desirability of 
a Nazified Austria. 

To the east, Poland has been in part conciliated, but the U.S.S.R. 
has been completely alienated. Vague Hitlerite schemes of parti- 
tioning the Ukraine or the Baltic States or both with Pilsudski, 
coupled with Polish aspirations toward diplomatic independence 
and the stature of a Great Power, have led to various understandings 
between Berlin and Warsaw: a ten-year non-aggression pact signed 
January 26, 1934, whereby Germany surrendered all designs on the 
Corridor and Upper Silesia; an agreement of February 26, 1934, 
whereby both governments contracted to control public opinion in 
the interests of friendly relations, and Germany renounced the privi- 
lege of indulging in official anti-Polish polemics; a trade agreement 
of March 7, i934> whereby a nine-year tariff war was terminated by 
German concessions; and agreements of August 1934 between Poland 
and the Nazi government of Danzig for a restoration of more ad- 
vantageous trade relations. These surrenders to Warsaw on the part 
of Wilhelmstrasse have infuriated the Nazi radicals and aroused 
grave suspicions in France, Russia, and the Baltic States. But they 
have apparently not led to any actual political entente between Poland 
and the Reich. Poland has gained everything and yielded nothing. 
Germany has yielded everything and gained nothing save a slight 
breach in the encircling wall of enmity. 

Nazi ambitions to conquer and "colonize" eastern Europe have 
produced a complete revolution in Soviet foreign policy. Veiled 
threats of aggression and obscure conspirings between Rosenberg 
and Ukrainian separatists have been accompanied by innumerable 
pin-pricks. In the summer of 1933, and again a year later, the Nazi 
press carried horrendous tales, illumined with "authentic" photo- 


graphs, of the great "famine" in Russia all to show the happy citi- 
zens of the Third Reich that Hitler had saved them from the hunger- 
hell of Bolshevism. 1 Funds were collected in Germany for Russian 
"famine relief," until the Soviet authorities, in the summer of .1934, 
refused to tolerate such activities. 2 For a time, in the autumn of 1933, 
a counter-revolutionary group of Russian emigres in Berlin was en- 
couraged to found a Russian Nazi movement. 8 After appeals for 
Soviet "friendship" Rosenberg could still say, in January 1934, that 
a German understanding with France must not cut off the Reich 
from all "economic possibilities" in the east. 4 

Under these circumstances, Moscow embraced the least dangerous 
of its "bourgeois enemies" and initiated an intimate rapprochement 
with France. The Quai d'Orsay and the Narkomindel both expressed 
unalterable opposition to German rearmament. Litvinov neverthe- 
less attempted, in pursuit of the Soviet Union's peace policy, to con- 
clude a non-aggression pact with the Third Reich. He was repeatedly 
rebuffed. Both a bilateral pact and a general regional pact were re- 
jected at Berlin. Barthou and Litvinov met British objections to a 
new Franco-Russian alliance by concocting the "Eastern Locarno" 
project of June 1934. Wilhelmstrasse rejected this likewise. The 
Soviet Union then joined the League of Nations and proceeded to 
tighten its diplomatic and military ties with France and the Little 
Entente. If Poland has been to some degree alienated from the French 
bloc, Italy and Russia have been thrown into the arms of Paris by 
the blunders of Nazi diplomacy. French hegemony is more assured 
than ever, and the united front of Paris, Rome, Moscow, Prague, 
Belgrade, and Bucharest makes it impossible for the Reich to dream 
of challenging her neighbours in arms. The only notable diplomatic 
"victory" thus far achieved by the Third Reich was the Saar plebiscite 
of January 13, 1935. The Reich of 1930-2 was on the point of gaining 
some of its major diplomatic objectives. The Reich of 1935 is en- 
circled by heavily armed and uniformly hostile States, determined 
to block the realization of Nazi ambitions. 

To conduct foreign policy with the sword, one must first have 
swords and some sense of the subtleties which are the prerequisites 

1 V.B., August 1 8, 1933. 

2 The Ncu/ York Times, August 12, 1934. 

3 Cf. the weekly periodical Rttsslands Erwachcn, Organ dcr Russtschcn N.S. Bewfgung, 
printed in Berlin and embellished with swastikas and with the Romanov double eagle. 

4 Interview with Paris Midi, V.B., January 3, 1934. 


to success in war. If Nazi efforts in the diplomatic field have pro- 
duced only negative results, Nazi efforts in the direction of rearma- 
ment are undoubtedly creating a finely forged instrument of im- 
perialistic aggression for use when the time is ripe. Although no 
international agreement on armaments has been reached, although 
the Geneva conference is dead but unburicd, although both France 
and Great Britain have refused to grant Germany a legal right to 
rearm in contravention of Part V of the Treaty of Versailles, the 
NSDAP has nevertheless evaded the treaty, remilitarized the Reich, 
and built up armed forces of considerable size. The secrecy of these 
preparations makes accurate estimates of the results impossible. But 
the federal budget for 1934-35, decreed on March 22, 1934, provided 
210,187,650 marks for the Air Ministry, compared to 78,348,450 marks 
in 1933 and nothing in 1932. The army and navy were allotted 894,- 
143,850 marks, compared to 671,114,150 marks in 1933. These ex- 
penditures were only 43.3 per cent less than the total cost of the 
imperial army and navy in 1913. German naval and air forces now 
consume 17.1 per cent of the national budget, as compared with 16.4 
per cent in Great Britain, 17.9 in the United States, 20.8 in Italy, 22.3 
in France, and 43.7 in Japan. This calculation does not include the 
250,000,000 marks devoted to the S.A. and the Labour Service, mak- 
ing a total of i,354i33*oOO marks for military or semi-military ex- 
penditures, as compared with 1,947,700,000 marks in I9I3-I4/ 

The Reichswehr is now being expanded into an army of 300,000, 
though it is limited to 100,000 by the Treaty. The third "pocket 
battleship" was launched in June 1954. Submarine and airplane parts 
have been constructed in Holland and Sweden. 2 German youth is 
again receiving systematic military training, either in the S.A., the 
S.S., the Reichswehr, or in the labour camps. Schoolboys arc trained 
in handling rifles and hurling grenades. The profits of militarism arc 
already apparent. The Rhcinmetall A. G. is again paying dividends. 
The stocks of the Berlin-Karlsruhe Industrie Werkc fluctuated be- 
tween 16 and 58 in 1932, but in 1933 they reached 95. The stocks of 
the Baycrische Motorcn Werke (aircraft motors and trench mortars) 
rose from a low of 28 in 1932 to a high of 140 in 19^3. The I. G. 

J Cf. The New York Times, March 28, 1934; and William T. Stone an<l David H. 
Popper: 'The Increasing Burden of Armaments," FPA Reports, October 24, 19*4. 
2 Cf. documented testimony before U.S. Senate Committee investigating munitions, 
The New York Times, September 7, 1934. 


Chemical Combine was listed in 1932 at 81 at its low point. In 1933 
it reached 148. By October 1934 German steel-production had reached 
a rate of output equal to 13,500,000 tons per year, compared with 
5,600,000 tons in 1932. 

It is clear to German military experts, however, that with the odds 
in man-power and resources heavily against the Reich, victory must 
be won by new strategic plans and by new weapons of offence which 
can break through or circumvent the Franco-Belgian border wall 
of steel and concrete. New explosives, new poison gases, new types 
of artillery and anti-aircraft guns, new plans of bacteriological war- 
tare, and new types of tanks, mortars, and ray devices are in process 
of fabrication. In 1914 German heavy artillery smashed the "im- 
pregnable" fortress of Liege, Namur, and Antwerp. Later in the 
war, German submarines destroyed millions of tons of shipping, 
German planes and dirigibles bombed foreign capitals, and Ger- 
man cannon shelled Paris from a distance of seventy miles. Similar 
surprises are doubtless in store for 1940 or 1945, even though there are 
no more Habcrs, Richthofens, or Rathenaus to aid. There is discus- 
sion of the "new Schlicflcn plan," whereby Belgium is to be invaded 
through Dutch Limburg. There is discussion of attacking France 
through Switzerland by means of a powerful thrust down the Rhone 
valley through Geneva, paralysing Lyorts and the French steel centres 
and cutting down toward the Mediterranean. 

But, above all, there is the feverish preparation of a gigantic air 
fleet which is to be the spear-point of attack. With the largest heavy 
commercial air squadrons in Europe, with thousands of pilots re- 
ceiving training, with motors being imported from Great Britain 
and the United States, and with German plants being equipped to 
turn out military planes by the hundreds, Germany will in all prob- 
ability have the most efficient fighting air force in the world by 1936, 
despite British determination to maintain a fleet second to none and 
to defend England, if necessary, on the Rhine. Germany's planes 
arc not to be used for defence. The RLB will take care of this func- 
tion. They will be concentrated on a few strategic points, and with 
heavy explosives and gas will blast a way through for the infantry 
and artillery. The "war of movement" must at all costs be re-estab- 
lished in order that a quick decision may be reached. Even with 
autarchy and economic self-sufficiency achieved at tremendous cost, 
another war of attrition is unthinkable. The flying terror of the skies 


will, it is hoped, turn the trick. Such, at least, is Goring's Napoleonic 
dream. 1 

These calculations are contingent upon diplomatic developments 
not yet in sight. Germany alone cannot fight Europe. All risks must 
be avoided until the game of war can be played with at least a gam- 
bler's chance of winning. Since French passivity cannot be counted 
upon while Germany moves eastward, France must first be smashed. 
For this, Polish and British neutrality is essential and Italian sup- 
port is almost a prerequisite. If the Anschluss is abandoned or if a 
bargain with Rome can be struck in Vienna, an alliance of the two 
Fascist States is not inconceivable, with Hungary, Austria, Albania, 
and Bulgaria as satellites. Or if this is impossible, Jugoslavia might 
be detached from the Little Entente and joined with Hungary, 
Austria, and Bulgaria in an anti-French and anti-Italian coalition, 
though the Jugoslav-Hungarian quarrel following the assassination 
of King Alexander renders this improbable. Russia rniglu conceiv- 
ably be immobilized by an understanding with Tokyo. If Japan 
strikes at Siberia while Germany moves against France, the Reich's 
rear will be protected. A grand German-Italian-Japancsc alliance 
against France, the Little Entente, and the Soviet Union is within 
the realm of the possible. Out of the troubled waters of Austrian, 
Jugoslav, Hungarian, Polislj, and Baltic politics clever Nazi diplo- 
mats may fish up undreamed-of combinations in the years ahead. 
The devious and dangerous diplomacy of Rome and Warsaw offer 
hope to Berlin. 

When a balance of power is thus restored, war may safely be 
risked. After France and Czechoslovakia are crushed, the conquest 
of Rumania and the Ukraine can proceed. The supposition that dic- 
tators dare not arm their subjects is of dubious validity. History's 
only lesson is that history teaches no lessons. William II learned noth- 
ing from the example of the two Napoleons, and these nothing from 
Louis XIV. There is no reason to suppose that Hitler and Goring 

1 The New Yorl( Times, May n, 1934, and Ernst Henri: Hitler Over Europe, pp. 206- 
268. Between January i ami August 31, 1934, foreign sales of United Aircraft (U.S.) 
totalled $1,753,646. Of this total, $1,445,913 represented sales to Germany (The New 
Yorl( Times, September 18, 1934). Secretary of State Hull expressed his "grave dis- 
approval'* of the export of military planes from the United States to Germany. So 
vigorous has the new German arms industry become that it exported sub-machine-guns 
to the United States in 1934 (New Yor{ Times, September 19, 1934). 


will profit by the example of William II. They have in fact no alter- 
native, since they are driven toward imperialism by the exigencies of 
monopolistic capitalism in a state of strangulation and by the dy- 
namics of the hero-cult which they have propagated. On March 16, 
1935 the Hitler Cabinet openly repudiated the disarmament clauses 
of the Treaty of Versailles by decreeing the inauguration of universal 
military service and announcing the enlargement of the Reichswehr 
to thirty-six divisions. Forward to Der Tag! Meanwhile talk peace 
and use militarism and the threat of war as tools to ensure the loyalty 
of the masses. Such is the program in foreign affairs of the NSDAP. 




EVERY absolutistic political order which does not rest alone on naked 
violence must rest on a myth. Every political community even the 
most libertarian and pluralistic can exist only so long as its mem- 
bers are bound together by common loyalties. In the western bour- 
geois democracies the general dissemination of the symbols of na- 
tionalism and of democratic and equalitarian values ensures the 
maintenance of a constitutional consensus usually adequate to keep 
the peace and to permit the preservation of a relatively free market 
for competing values, symbols, and ideologies. But wherever a polit- 
ical elite claims omniscience and omnipotence, destroys all its com- 
petitors, and monopolizes all power and all access to power, it must 
create consent by manufacturing its own mythology. It must elevate 
that mythology, moreover, into a dogma which reveals all truth and 
is a guide to all life. Otherwise the only weapons of tyranny, aside 
from the distribution of jobs and favours, are terrorism against ene- 
mies, the focusing of resentment against scapegoats, and the building 
of unity on fear of foreign foes. 

These weapons by themselves have seldom sufficed to mobilize 
acquiescence for any considerable period of time. Force is futile save 
against small, dissident minorities or against groups without the 
will to resist and against these it is unnecessary. Resentment and 
fear undirected by some Weltanschauung are dangerous double- 
edged tools. Mass consent and collective enthusiasm can only be 
evoked through magic, mysticism, and the systematic inculcation of 
some "philosophy" capable at once of winning the respect of a por- 
tion of the intellectual elite and of catching the imagination of the 



multitudes. The "credenda" and "miranda" of power are indispen- 
sable to the rulers of a totalitarian State. 1 

The origins and ideational content of the Nazi Weltanschauung 
have already been suggested. 2 Here an effort will be made to describe 
the techniques whereby the German masses have been indoctrinated 
with the new creed. The Nazi leaders from the beginning have ap- 
preciated the urgency of this task and have recognized that their 
power could endure only if it rested on general acceptance of their 
own world-outlook. Thus Hitler: 

"We have the power. No one today can resist us. But now we 
must educate the German people to this State. . . . The German 
people must place itself one hundred per cent in the service of our 
Idea. . . . We are the greatest organization that ever existed in 
Germany. But not only that: we are today the only organization. 
. . . We must accomplish the great task, for beyond us there is no 
one who can do so." 3 

This task has been the work of the entire NSDAP, with all its 
agencies and subsidiary organizations. But specifically its fulfilment 
has been entrusted to the new Ministry of People's Enlightenment 
and Propaganda. During the Great War the creation of such an 
agency was proposed by Erzberger, but no action was taken. In mid- 
February 1933 the proposal to establfsh a Propaganda Office was 
publicly discussed, but was officially denied. On February 16 Goeb- 
bels was named "Reich Commissar for Radio and Propaganda." On 
March 8 there was talk of a "Ministerium fiir Staatskultur." On 
March 10 it was announced that Goebbels would become "Propa- 
ganda Minister." Two days later the present name of the Ministry 
was announced, and on the i3th Goebbels was officially appointed 
by Hitler and confirmed by presidential decree. 4 The initial organi- 
zation of the Ministry was completed by April i. It moved into an old 
palace on Wilhelmplatz. Its first great achievement was the organiza- 
tion of the "Day of National Labour" on May i. On July 5, 1933, its 
duties were clarified in another decree. 

"The Minister for People's Enlightenment and Propaganda is 
competent to deal with all measures for the mental influencing of the 

*Cf. C. E. Merriam: Political Power (New York: McGraw-Hill; 1934), Chapter 4. 

2 Cf. pp. 95f. above. 

8 Speech to the S.A. of Dortmund, Berliner Tagcblatt, July 10, 1933. 

*jR.G.B., 1933, Vol. I, No. 21, p. 104. 


nation, the publicity of State culture and business, the instruction of 
the public, inside and outside of the nation, concerning the above, 
and the administration of all agencies which serve these purposes." l 

To facilitate this work the Foreign Office yielded to Goebbels its 
jurisdiction over propaganda, art, films, and sports abroad. The 
Ministry of the Interior transferred to Goebbels its control over 
domestic publicity, the Hochschule fur Politik, national holidays 
and State celebrations, press, radio, art, music, theatres, and the en- 
forcement of legislation against obscenity. From the Ministries of 
Commerce and Agriculture Goebbels took over the advertising of 
expositions and fairs, and from the Ministries of Posts and Communi- 
cation all control of travel publicity and the non-technical aspects of 
radio. By midsummer of 1933 Goebbels had established thirteen local 
offices, which had grown to thirty-one a year later. Walter Funk 
became his chief aide. The Ministry was originally divided into 
seven major Abteilungen: Administration, Propaganda, Radio, 
Press, Film, Theatre, and Popular Education. It was subsequently 
reorganized into divisions of Administration and Law; Propaganda; 
Radio; Press; Film; Theatre, Music and Art; and Defence against 
Lies. During 1933-4 the Ministry spent 14,257,500 marks, and during 
1934-5, 28,148,300 marks. 2 It collected in radio receipts sums more 
than sufficient to cover these expenditures. These receipts, however, 
do not appear in full in its budget. Their disposition appears to be a 
"State secret." Among its more notable achievements have been the 
Creadon of the Reich Culture Chamber, the Law for the Protection 
of National Symbols (May 19, 1933), the Press Law of October 4, 
1933, the Cinema Law of February 16, 1934, and the great cam- 
paign against critics and grumblers in the spring of 1934^ 

Any full account of the highly ingenious and variegated activities 
of the Propagandaministerium would require a volume by itself. 
Every agency and organization of the party has its own propaganda 
bureau, working usually in co-operation with Goebbels. Only the 
more significant and striking aspects of this work need be dealt with 
in the present chapter. 4 

The NSDAP was from the beginning an army with banners, 

IR.GJB., 1933, Vol. I, No. 75 (June 30), p. 449. 

2 The Nttv Yor% Times. March 28, 1934. 

*Cf. V.B., March n, 1934. 

+Cf. Eugen Hadamovsky: Propaganda und Rationale Macht (Oldenburg: Stalling; 



marching forth to battle to the tunes of martial music. The Third 
Reich is a nation marching in uniform and carrying flags. The old 
familiar costumes of the S.A., S.S., Stahlhelm, and Reichswehr have 
been supplemented by dozens of others. The Prussian police have 
in part discarded their blue coats and visored hats for light green 
uniforms and grey steel helmets embellished with white swastikas. 
Goring's air corps boasts handsome blue-grey outfits. All the millions 
of members of the Arbeitsfront, male and female, are expected to 
have simple blue uniforms for ceremonial occasions. The five million 
boys and girls of the Hitler Youth are also in military garb. The 
labour-service army wears denim. The Third Reich is a veritable 
paradise for tailors. 

Each organization, moreover, has its emblem or button. Many 
have medals and insignia of rank. Some have flags of their own. Hun- 
dreds of different emblems and medals are to be seen on breasts and 
coat lapels throughout the Reich, as well as "Daggers of Honour," 
epaulets, service stripes, and other decorations. In July 1934, orders 
were given by the Cabinet for the issuance of bronze or iron crosses 
to all war veterans and their widows, including Jews. The Nazi 
colours are everywhere, even on post-boxes and postal wagons, which 
once were Prussian blue. All the old black-red-and-gold flags have 
disappeared. Their display is forbiddert and most of the statues and 
other symbols of republican leaders have been destroyed. After the 
death of Hindenburg it was reported that the old monarchist banner 
would likewise be suppressed. 

The Fascist salute is equally ubiquitous. The "German greeting" 
borrowed from Mussolini, who borrowed it from the Roman 
legions is compulsory in innumerable situations. Nazi flags, uni- 
forms, and leaders must always be saluted. Goring made the upraised 
arm obligatory for the Prussian police in September 1933. In De- 
cember a decree of Frick required the salute in all school and uni- 
versity classes, on the ground that "the highest task of the school is 
the education of youth to the service of people and State in a Nation- 
alsocialist spirit." At the beginning and end of each school term the 
entire faculty and student body must honour the flag and sing the 
Dcutschland Lied and the Horst Wesscl Lied. At the beginning and 
end of every class the teacher salutes and shouts: "Heil Hitler I" and 
the students respond in chorus. For non-Aryan students the salute 
is optional. Scholars who neglect to participate are subject to expul- 


sion. Disloyal teachers who fail to perform or who enter classes 
with books under both arms as means of evading the salute may 
be disciplined. 1 Sundry uniforms, flags, and emblems must be saluted 
on all occasions. 2 In contacts between passers-by, the "German greet- 
ing" has replaced handshaking. Telephone conversations and private 
letters are often initiated and terminated with "Heil Hitler!" Re- 
cently, however, efforts have been made to restrict these practices on 
the ground that a too common use of the greeting may diminish its 
emotional efficacy. But in general all citizens of the Third Reich 
salute and "Heil Hitler!" at least half a dozen times a day. 

The new symbols may not be cheapened, however, by improper 
use. Under the Law for the Protection of National Symbols, 3 the 
Propaganda Ministry forbade the following activities: the manu- 
facture of mattresses with swastika design; the production of cookies 
and sausages in the shape of the Ha^enl^reuz; and the use of the 
Haf(enl(ret{z as a trade mark on cigarettes and other goods. Firms 
indulging in such practices would in future be denounced by name 
in the Reichsanzeiger? Dancing to the Horst Wessel Lied is also 
forbidden on pain of arrest. The use of the national symbols in adver- 
tising and in the manufacture of toys, tobacco, and candy is banned. 5 
In this fashion the requisite degree of sacredness for the new devices 
is maintained. 

Hero-worship is likewise an integral part of the new cult. First 
among heroes stands Der Fuhrer. His busts and pictures are every- 
where, since he has long since abandoned the tactics of 1920-1, when 
he sought to add a mysterious glamour to his personality by forbid- 
ding the publication of his likeness. Pamphlets, brochures, and books 
without end on his life, character, ancestry, horoscope, bright say- 
ings, and personal habits are on display in every book-store and news- 
stall. Literature on Hitler which is purely imaginative, "untrue, 11 
or in any way derogatory is subject to confiscation.* In March 19^4 
Frick decreed that the name "Fuhrer" must be restricted to Hitler, 
with "Letter" applied to other Nazi officials. It is doubtful whether 
there is a single town in the Reich which does not have its Adolf 

1 V.B., December 21, 1933. 

2 Ibid., February 14, 1934. 

3 R.G.B., 1933, Vol. I, No. 52 (May 19), p. 285. 

4 TU dispatch, September 16, 1933. 

6 V.B., February 17, 1934. 

6 Order of Bruckner, V.B., May 16, 1934. 


Hitler Strasse or its Adolf Hitler Platz. In the official Weltan- 
schauung Hitler is a demigod, omniscient, omnipotent, infallible. 

"Hitler is always right." (Albert Schlitter, in Hochschule fur 
Poling der NSDAP, p. 132.) 

"If Adolf Hitler had arisen in the Middle Ages, we should have 
been today the foremost nation in the world, the master of the in- 
habited earth." (Richard Suchenwirth; Von Ersten bis zum Drittcn 

"Whoever heard Der Fiihrer at Niirnberg make his speech, so full 
of meaning, about German culture and German art, felt the same 
thing: there spoke in him the revelation of a Higher One," (Wil- 
helm Kube.) 

"Hitler and Luther belong together; they are of the same German 
stamp and substance." (Bernard Rust.) 

"In this newly begun chapter of history the German people have 
elected Adolf Hitler as their champion before God." x (Hans Frank.) 

"Hitler is lonely. So is God. Hitler is like God." (Hans Frank.) 

The lesser Nazi leaders are almost equally in the public eye. Streets 
and parks everywhere have been named for Goring, Goebbels, Hess, 
Frick, Rosenberg. Here, too, any unflattering observations are rigidly 
suppressed. When Frick, on his fifty-seventh birthday, in March 
1934, married the divorced wife of Professor Paul Schultze-Naum- 
berg, after divorcing his own wife, with whom he had enjoyed 
thirty-three years of matrimony, no German newspaper published 
any notice of the wedding. Goebbels' club-foot and Goring's idio- 
syncrasies are also banned as subjects of comment, as well as the 
pederastic proclivities of some of their colleagues and subordinates. 
Great events in the history of the party are likewise used as names 
for streets and public buildings, though this practice is less prevalent 
than in Paris, Rome, Leningrad, and Moscow. In Munich a street 
has been renamed "The Street of November 9." 

Dead heroes and martyrs, as well as those still living, are likewise 
honoured. The traditional panel of German heroes has been con- 
siderably modified. Charlemagne (Karl der Grosse) is no longer in 
favour. His pagan enemy, Widukind, who fought against the Chris- 
tianization of the Saxons, has replaced him in the hall of fame. 
Arminius (Hermann), who annihilated the legions of Varus, 
AJD. 9, is likewise a hero. Frederick the Great is more popular than 

1 Cf. compilation of John Gunthcr, Chicago Daily News, November 2, 1933. 


ever. On October 7, 1933, an actor dressed as Frederick addressed 
the storm troopers at Beuthen. Frederick and Bismarck rank as only 
slightly inferior to Hitler himself. Since his death Hindenburg has 
remained as much of a legend as before. The Nazis have excelled, 
however, in elevating obscure and unknown patriots to the rank of 
heroes. Hans Maikowski and dozens of other S.A. victims of the 
"Red terror" are everywhere revered in solemn ceremonies. On 
November 8, 1934, Hitler ordered five hundred thousand marks dis- 
tributed annually among the immediate relatives of the 248 Nazi 
"martyrs." The two great figures here, however, are Albert Leo 
Schlageter and Horst Wessel. 

The former, designated as "the last soldier of the Great War and 
the first soldier of the Third Reich," was an adventurer who organ- 
ized a band of guerrillas to fight the French occupation of the Ruhr, 
He blew up coal-trains and railway tracks. When he dynamited a 
railway bridge between Duisberg and Dusseldorf, he was caught, 
court-martialed, and shot on May 28, 1923. On the tenth anniversary 
of his death a gigantic demonstration was staged on the site of the 
execution near Dusseldorf. Goring talked at the tomb, where a huge 
cross was erected. A thousand massed flags saluted the martyr. Golz* 
heim Heath was declared holy ground. Around the new Golgotha 
stood 260,000 S.A. and S.S. irten and 250,000 spectators, overwhelmed 
by awe, reverence, sorrow, and lust for revenge. Here was indeed 
a hero! Plays, films, books, and songs about Schlageter had been pro- 
duced in such quantity that his name is as famous as that of Freder- 
ick, Bismarck, or Hitler. 1 

Horst Wessel was born in 1907. His father was a Lutheran pastor 
who became an army chaplain. After the war the son became succes- 
sively a Reichswehr volunteer, a student at the University of Berlin, 
a Nazi, and, after May i, 1929, an S.A. leader. For the purpose of 
combating Communism more effectively, he moved to Berlin's east 
end, where he rented a room from one Frau Salm and lived with 
one "Lucy of Alexanderplatz." Here he secured the inspiration which 
led him to write the Horst Wessel Lied. Lucy was a lady of easy 
virtue. Whether Horst lived on the rewards of her prostitution or lived 
with her to "reform" her is debatable. Whether his landlady disliked 
him because he was behind in his rent, or because he was a pro- 
curer, or because she was a Communist is equally unclear. He has 
1 Cf. Hans Johst: Schlageter; Rolf Brandt: Albert Leo Schlageter; etc. 


also been accused of having homosexual relations with prominent 
party leaders. Truth is doubly difficult to unearth about figures that 
have become legends. On January 14, 1930, a group of alleged "Com- 
munists" led by one Albrecht (Ali) Hoehler & rival customer and 
lover of Lucy, say the Communists invaded the apartment at 62 
Grosse Frankfurterstrasse and shot the S.A. leader. He died in a 
hospital on February 23. He was young, handsome despite a weak 
chin, and an obvious martyr in a sacred cause. His song became the 
battle hymn of the NSDAP. His life, appropriately edited, became an 
inspiration to all young storm troopers. Pictures and books about 
Horst Wessel are even more numerous than those dealing with 
Schlageter. 1 

The murderer Ali was sentenced to six years in jail (the court 
found extenuating circumstances), along with seven accomplices. 
Ali died in prison, whether from violence or natural causes has never 
been revealed. In December 1933 it was announced that new culprits 
would be tried for the murder. In May 1934 the trial was opened of 
Peter Stoll, tailor; Hans Ziegler, barber; and Solly Epstein, a Jewish 
painter. All ihree had been under arrest since August 1933. These 
Specimens of "Red sub-humanity" were finally found guilty of some 
kind of connection with the murder. 2 Epstein and Ziegler were 
beheaded on April 10, 1935. * 

The martyred composer of the Nazi anthem has become one of 
the major saints of the NSDAP. The hospital in which he died has 
been named after him. Biilowplatz, the former Communist strong- 
hold, is now "Horst Wessel Platz." The Karl Liebknecht House 
was renamed the "Horst Wessel House." On his birthday, October 9, 
1933, Goebbels spoke in the hospital and led a torch-light parade to 
his grave, where impressive ceremonies were staged. An elaborate 
anti-Communist propaganda film based on his life, with incidental 
music by Hanfstangl, was to have had its first showing at the same 
time. It was suppressed by Goebbels at the last moment, on the 
ground that it was not up to the requisite artistic standard and was 
not a faithful portrayal of the hero. A number of Jews had been com- 
pelled to act offensively in the anti-Semitic scenes. Some of these were 
cut out and the film was finally permitted to appear under the name 

1 Erwin Rcitmann: Horst Wessel. Leben und Sterben (Berlin: Stcubcn; 1933); Hans 
Ewers: Horst Wessel (Berlin: Cotta'sche; 1933). 

2 V.B., December 23, 1933; May 4, June 14, 1934. 


of Hans Westmar. The prevalent attitude toward the martyr was 
well stated by Der Britnnen (Dusseldorf) on January 2, 1934: 

"How high Horst Wessel towers over that Jesus of Nazareth 
that Jesus who pleaded that the bitter cup should be taken from him! 
How unattainably high all Horst Wessels stand above this Jesus!" 

Since its seizure of power, as before, the NSDAP has excelled in 
mass pageantry, creating by collective suggestion an atmosphere of 
almost delirious enthusiasm which is perhaps without parallel in 
modern politics. Local patriotic assemblies are of weekly and some- 
times daily occurrence in every town and hamlet in the Reich. About 
once a month some colossal demonstration is arranged always with 
that consummate skill and that fine sense of dramatic values charac- 
teristic of Hitler and Goebbels. The Nazi regime was initiated with 
the celebrations of January 30, 1933, the "Day of Potsdam," the "Day 
of National Awakening," and the "Day of National Labour." Lesser 
festivities followed in the summer, culminating once more in the 
gigantic Nurnberg Partei-Tag of September 1-3, the opening of the 
Prussian Staatsrat on September 15, and the Erntedan^-Tag of Oc- 
tober i. In this harvest festival there were speeches, concerts, parades, 
and picnics everywhere throughout Germany. Five hundred thou- 
sand peasants gathered at the Biickeberg, near Hameln, where they 
were entertained by music, parades, and military manoeuvres. Here 
Hitler spoke, praising the peasantry to the skies as the source of all 
racial strength and wisdom. 1 

On November 9, 1933, came the solemn festivities in Munich 
celebrating the tenth anniversary of the beer-hall putsch. Christmas 
itself was converted into a great patriotic, cultural, racial, and pagan 
holiday, as well as a Christian festival. New Year's Day brought 
more speeches, proclamations, parties, and parades. On February 24, 
1934, the fourteenth anniversary of the promulgation of the party 
program, a great festival was staged in Munich. Here and elsewhere 
throughout the country a solemn oath "I swear unswerving loyalty 
to Adolf Hitler and unconditional obedience to him and to the lead- 
ers designated by him" was administered to 1,017,000 political 
chieftains, including 373,000 party leaders, 205,000 youth leaders, 
120,000 officials of the NSBO, 68,000 officers of the N.S. Welfare 
Organization, 57,000 from the NSHAGO, 53,000 from the N.S. 
Frauenschaft, 34,000 of the Amt fiir Beamte, 14,000 propaganda 

1 Cf. Berliner Tageblatt and V.B., September 16 and October 2, 1933. 


officials. Hitler spoke to the "Old Guard" in the Hofbrauhaus. He 
pledged himself to appeal to the people for the judgment of his re- 
gime at least nce a year. Hess declared in his address: "Adolf Hit-^ 
Jer is Germany, and Germany is Adolf Hitler." 

On February 25 the entire nation honoured its war dead in heroic 
demonstrations. On March 21, anniversary of the "Day of Potsdam," 
more awe-inspiring ceremonies were staged. "Work, work, and more 
work!" was Der Fiihrer's appeal. JThe Labour Day festival of May 
i, 1934 was doubly {he size of the one the year before. The Niirnberg 
Panel-Tag of September i, 1934 outshone all its predecessors. In 
true American style, each ceremonial was made bigger, better, more 
elaborate, more stupendous, colossal, and gigantic than ever before. 
Whether this constant crescendo could be continued indefinitely 
was becoming doubtful by the end of 1934.* 

The magicians of the NSDAP have achieved almost miraculous 
results with this technique. Only a wholly inanimate being can resist 
the infectious exaltation of these throbbing, heart-stirring rituals. In 
the spring of 1934 the party systematized the mass ceremonials to 
some degree by reviving the ancient Germanic "Thii^g" or tribal 
assembly, with open-air folk-plays and dances, huge choruses, and 
group singing. The second "Nordic Thing" was held in.jBremen on 
May 17, 1934, and was errtbellishecUby ^m address on ancient clocks 
by Hanfstangl. The Nazi leaders know full well that i&s^iring emo- 
tions shared with tens of -thousands of Volfygenosstn are the surest 
means of binding the masses to the dictatorship. These ceremonies 
reawaken deep strains of communal life and aestheti^appreciation 
long lost in the modern age. They are not "democratic/' One does 
not see here "The People?' in all its tumult apd diversity, but only 
vast, regimented throngs singing, saluting, parading like a single 
dynamic organism in which all indivi^mal life disappears in the col- 
lectivity. Here is a pagan nftass, a mediaeval imfnolation, an orgy of 
personal effacement and group hysteria conjuring up memories of 
ancient Asia. Here, in the chants, the "Heils!" and the seas of out- 
stretched arms, is the visible living expression of discipline, militar- 
ism, totalitarianism, the Fiihrerprinzip. And for decades to come, 
long after the NSDAP has passed into the tomb of tyrannies, there 
will be simple souls left behind who will tell their children and 

1 For detailed descriptions of these demonstrations, with photographs and texts of 
speeches, sec V.B. for the days following the dates given above. 


grandchildren, with pride and joy, of the great mass festivals of 1933 
and 1934, where a transfigured Deutschtum lost its mind and found 
its soul. 


THE entire educational system of the Reich, from kindergartens to 
professional schools, is now in the service of the totalitarian State. 

"The racial State must build up its entire educational work in the 
first instance not on the pumping in of empty knowledge, but on the 
development of healthy bodies. Only in the second place comes the 
training of mental faculties. Here, however, comes first again the 
development of character, especially the promotion of Will and 
Decisiveness, united with education toward joy and responsibility, 
and only last, scientific schooling." (Mein Kampf, p. 452.) 

"The soldier should learn to be silent, not only when he is dealt 
with justly, but he should also learn when necessary to endure in- 
justice in silence." (Ibid., p. 459.) 

"It is especially the task of a racial State to see to it that a world 
history should at last be written in which the race question shall be 
raised to a dominant position." (Ibid., p. 468.) 

"The epoch of 'pure reasbn,' of 'objective' and 'free' science is 
ended." (Ernst Krieck: Nationalpolitische Erziehung; Leipzig: Ar- 
manen; 1933; p. i.) 

"Absolute academic freedom in universities is absolute nonsense. 
. . . The university is itself an organ of the whole and therefore has 
its being, like every other organ, directly in the name of and by the 
right of the whole. Consequently, the whole, represented in the State, 
must see to it that no self-governing member separates itself from 
the totality, from the sworn goal of racial unity and Weltanschauung!' 
(Ibid., p. 173.) 

"All education must today be political education, in order to safe- 
guard the life of the community and therewith the life of the in- 
dividual. And all learning must fulfil the unqualified goal of educa- 
tion in co-operation with the political function." (F. A. Beck, in 
Hochschule jtir Politif^, pp. 36-7.) 

"Education in the last half-century became a magic means of trick- 
cry, unbiological and contrary to all inner laws of race and people. 
. . . German education will not be formal and aesthetic, it will not 


strive for an abstract training of reason, but it will be in the first 
instance an education of character. . . . This cleansing of spirit 
and instinct, the recovery of the emancipation of the blood, is perhaps 
the greatest task which the Nationalsocialist movement now has be- 
fore it." (Alfred Rosenberg, in V.B., March 15, 1934.) 

The negative aspects of this task have already been suggested. 
Thousands of teachers and students who were Jewish, Marxist, lib- 
eral, pacifist, or otherwise obnoxious have been driven from their 
posts. Those who remain have repeatedly been warned that academic 
freedom is at an end and that they must embrace and inculcate the 
Nazi philosophy. Summer encampments for teachers, where they 
receive intensive political drilling, have already been provided. Dis- 
cipline, obedience, and the martial virtues are the new ideals for 
students and faculties alike. 

The Gleichschaltung of academic groups proceeded apace through- 
out 1933. Student bodies in scientific colleges were organized for 
the purpose of enabling students to "fulfil their duties toward people, 
State, and university." * In October, Frick named Dr. Oskar 
Staebel, leader of the N.S. Deutschen Studentenbund, head of the 
Deutsche Studentenschaft. 2 On October 30 the Prussian Minister 
of Education abolished faculty meetings in Prussian universities and 
decreed that all presidents and deans would henceforth be appointed 
by the Minister instead of elected by the faculty. Under the law of 
April 25 against the overcrowding of German schools, 3 the number 
of new students to be admitted to higher educational institutions 
was limited to 15,000 for 1934, with only ten per cent women, as 
compared with 24,700 in 1932 and 29,000 in 1931. Special consideration 
is given to applicants who are members of the S.S., S.A., or Hitler 
Jugend. All new students are required to spend half a year in "labour 
service." On February 7, 1934, Frick ordered the amalgamation of 
the Deutsche Studentenschaft and the Deutsche Fachschulschaft in- 
to the Reichschaft der Studierenden, under an arbitrary Reichs- 
fiihrer. 4 

These and other innovations have in general met with the approval 
of the German university students, who were among the first to em- 
brace the Nazi cult of "anti-intellectualism." The once colorful Stu- 

1 R.G.B., 1933. Vol. I, No. 40 (April 22), p. 215. 

2 Berliner Tagcblatt, October 11, 1933. 

3 R.G.B., 1933, Vol. I, No. 43, p. 225. 

4 For the constitution of this body, see V.B., February 8, 1934. 


dent Corps have declined, though duelling is again encouraged. 
Groups of twenty to forty students now live in disciplined "fellow- 
ships" in a highly military atmosphere. Regimentation and the 
"levelling mania" have encountered some opposition. On July 16, 
1934, Nazi students and members of the old Student Corps at Got- 
tingen engaged in a riot, followed by arrests. Three days later, Oskar 
Staebel and Ernst Zaeringer, leaders of the new Nazi Studenthood, 
retired and were displaced by Andreas Feikert, by order of Minister 
Rust. But there has been thus far no general student rebellion against 
the new order. During the summer of 1934 *hcre were only 95,667 
students in the higher schools, compared to 115,722 in 1933. The 
number of male students declined 15 per cent and of female students 
26.5 per cent. 1 In the autumn only 4,000 men and 700 women were 
admitted to the universities and technical colleges as new students. 
As for children, Hitler declared in an address at Erfurt on June 
18, 1933: "If the older generation cannot get accustomed to us, we 
shall take their children away from them and rear them as needful 
for the Fatherland." Despite this threat, no sweeping administrative 
changes have been introduced in the lower schools, save instruction 
in race science, race history, and military sports. The new literature 
used in primary and secondary schools is indicative of the purposes 
of the new education. A few typical titles follow: Georg Hanke: 
World War, Collapse and Resurrection of the German Nation; The 
War-Guilt Question in the German School; Peter Jugwerfen: How 
We Stormed Kemmel; Karl Westerhausen : Between Coitrland and 
Gdicia; My Last Year in the West; Gustav Engelkes: World War 
Burns in Young Hearts; Ernst Weber : From the World War to To- 
day; Friedrich Hiller: The Dictate of Versailles; Paul Felstan: The 
National Uprising of 1933; Ernst Weber: People and Race; Fritz 
Kern: National Biology and Eugenics; Heinrich Denser: The Fight 
against Smut; Bleeding Frontiers a series of brochures on the Saar, 
Upper Silesia, the Corridor, etc.; and sundry biographies of Horst 
Wessel, Schlageter, Hitler, Hindenburg, Bismarck, Stein, Luther, 
Andreas Hofer, and other heroes. 2 In November 1934 Minister Rust 
ordered the introduction into the schools of Hitler's Mein Kampf, 
Rosenberg's Myth of the Twentieth Century, Theodore Fritsch's 
Handbook of the Jewish Question, Gunther's Race Science of the 

1 The New Yor% Times, November 4, 1934. 

2 Berlin: Beltz, 1933; titles translated by author. 


German People, and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion* 

The conversion of youth is necessarily a prime task of all totali- 
tarian dictatorships. No effort has been spared by the NSDAP to 
enlist German youth in the sacred cause. Unity, discipline, obedience, 
fanaticism in the service of the State are the new ideals. 2 Special 
"political schools" for youth, and in some cases for adults, have been 
established throughout the Reich. 3 The Nazi Hochschule fur Politik 
has established a special seminar for Hitler Youth leaders. 4 Parades, 
demonstrations, and festivals of youth are everywhere prominent 
features of political pageantry. 

The regimentation of German youth has been achieved through 
a complex hierarchy of co-ordinated organizations. The Reichs-Ju- 
gend-Fiihrung is headed by Baldur von Schirach, who is a member 
of the OR of the party. His staff consists of thirteen Abteilungen, in- 
cluding divisions for organizations; hygiene and labour service; 
sanitation; propaganda; German youth abroad; aviation training, 
in liaison with the Reich Preparatory School for Flyers; leadership 
school, in liaison with the Reichsfiihrerschule der H.J.; N.S. Jugend 
B.O., in liaison with the youth office of the Labour Front; students, 
in liaison with the Reichsschaft der deutschen Studierenden; etc. 
These agencies supervise the corresponding activities of the four 
great organizations of German youth* The German Young People 
(Deutsche Jungvolt() are divided into geographical Jungbanne, these 
into Stamme, these into Fahnlein, these into Jungztige, and these into 
Jungenschajten. Each Jimgenschaft consists of 15 boys; each Jung- 
zttg of 50 (3 ]nngschajten)\ each Fahnlein of 150 (3 ]ungziige)\ 
each Stamm of 600 (4 Fahnlein)', and each Jungbann of 3,000 (5 
Stamme). The Hitler Youth is similarly divided into Obergebiete 
(375,000 youths or 5 Gebiete)\ Gebiete (75,000 or 5 Oberbanne)\ 
Oberbanne (15,000 or 5 Banne)\ Banne (3,000 or 5 Unterbanne); 
Unterbanne (600 or 4 Gefolgschafteri); Gefolgschaften (150 or 3 
Scharen)\ Scharen (50 or 3 Kamcradschafteri)\ and Kameradschaf- 
ten of 15 young men each. Girls and young women are similarly 
organized. The Young Girls (Jungmadel) consist of a hierarchy of 
Untergatie, Ringe, Gruppen, Scharen, and Jungmadelschaften of 15 

1 The New Yor^ Times, November 9, 1934. 

2 Cf. interview with Baldur von Schirach, V.B., April 26, 1934. 
8 Cf. V.B., November 15, 1933; April 4, 1934. 



members each. The Bund Deutschcr Mtidel for older girls comprises 
Gauverbandc, Obergatte, Gatte, Untergaue, Mddelringe, Gruppen, 
Scharen, and Madelschaften? 

Here, as in all other phases of German life, the application of the 
Fuhrerprinzip has meant that youth is drilled and disciplined like 
an army preparing for war and is commanded by leaders appointed 
from above and ultimately answerable to Hitler. So fanatical has 
become the militarism of German adolescents that protests have 
been made over the daily preoccupation of boys in their teens with 
saluting, shouting orders, and reviewing their troops. There has been 
some friction between the HJ and such remnants of the Catholic 
youth organizations as survive. The HJ has been accused of being 
anti-religious. Schirach views neo-paganism sympathetically and 
insists that iron unity and discipline forbid any Catholic-Protestant 
differentiation. But youth is in its glory, playing at war and revelling 
in race science, political romanticism, and half-heathen mysticism. 
Parents seem proud to see their sons transformed into young soldiers, 
carrying daggers, securing practice in throwing grenades, and pre- 
paring assiduously for "Der Tag." Youth has been won to the 
NSDAP. Only a major national catastrophe can break the spell and 

lead to new quests for truth, beauty, and goodness in other directions. 


IN MAY 1933, strange ceremonies took place in most German cities, 
the like of which had not been seen in the western world since the 
late Middle Ages and the period of the wars of religion. On May 
6, Berlin student groups staged a raid on the Institute for Sexual 
Science, conducted by Magnus Hirschfeld. The director was away. 
He was four times damned as a Jew, a liberal, a pornographist, and 
a scientific student of sex phenomena. In his Institute he had gathered 
together perhaps the most complete collection of sex literature in the 
world scientific, erotic, diverting, and serious. At 9.30 Saturday 
morning the students brought several trucks to the Institute, decorated 
with banners: "German Students March against the Un-German 
Spirit," "Down with Un-German Trash and Smut!" At a trumpet 
signal, they invaded the library and dragged out thousands of books, 
pamphlets, and pictures, which they dumped into the trucks while 

1 Cf. diagrams in V.B., June 29, 1933 and February 6, 1934. 


the band played. There were speeches, cheers, and the Horst Wessel 
Lied. In the afternoon, storm troopers came and completed the work 
of demolition. The premises were wrecked and much personal and 
foreign property, including library and research materials of the 
World League for Sexual Reform, was destroyed or seized for sub- 
sequent burning. Other students descended upon various book-stores 
in Berlin and elsewhere. At the same hour Rust, Prussian Minister of 
Education, was speaking at the University: 

"Freedom of research and national philosophic unity are the pil- 
lars upon which the university of the future must be built. In the 
spirit of Adolf Hitler and in the name of the great German folk- 
community, I call to you: German students and professors, unite! 
Heill" * 

On the following Wednesday evening, May 10, forty thousand 
students and spectators gathered in a drizzling rain in the great 
square beside the Staatsopera on Unter den Linden, opposite the 
University of Berlin. Thousands of students, parading in colourful 
uniforms, reached the square at midnight. The torches of the march- 
ers ignited a huge funeral pyre, twelve feet square and five feet high. 
As the flames mounted, armful after armful of books were tossed 
into the fire by willing and enthusiastic students. In Berlin 20,000 
volumes were burned, in Kiel 2,000, fti Breslau 5,000 pounds of books 
and pamphlets, in Frankfurt to the tunes of Chopin's Funeral March 
several thousand more tomes. Among foreign authors whose books 
were consigned to the flames were Lenin, Stalin, Freud, Ben Lindsey, 
Morris Hillquit, Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Margaret Sanger, 
H. G. Wells, Havelock Ellis, Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, Arthur 
Schnitzler, Helen Keller, Andre Gide, fimile Zola, and Marcel Proust. 
Among German authors represented were Hugo Preuss, Walter 
Rathenau, Albert Einstein, Bertha von Suttner, Karl Marx, Friedrich 
Engels, August Bebel, Karl Liebknecht, Emil Ludwig, Erich Re- 
marque, Lion Feuchtwanger, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Alfred 
Kerr, Georg Bernard, Theodore Wolflf, Arnold Zweig, and Jacob 
Wassermann. The burnt offerings included, in the words of one of 
the student appeals, "anything that works subversely on family life, 
married life, or love, or the ethics of our youth, or our future, or 
strikes at the root of German thought, the German home, and the 
driving forces of our people; any works of those who would subor- 

1 The entire press of Berlin, May 6 and 7, 1933. 


dinate the soul to the material; anything that serves the purposes of 
lies." A bust of Dr. Hirschfeld was also tossed into the fire. 

At the end of the ceremonies, after the volumes had been reduced 
to ashes and before the singing of the Horst Wessel Lied, Goebbels 

"Jewish intellectualism is dead. Nationalsocialism has hewn the 
way. The German folk-soul can again express itself. These flames 
do not only illuminate the final end of an old era, they also light up 
the new. . . ." 

Near by, across Unter den Linden, stands the great Preussische 
Staatsbibliothek. Its director patiently explains to foreign visitors that 
the book-burning was purely "symbolic" and that the library retains 
copies of all books destroyed. But these books and thousands of 
others are "sel(retiert" and kept under lock and key. They may be 
used only by special permission and then only for "scientific" that 
is, pro-Nazi research. Even foreigners have difficulty in securing 
access to them. On the first anniversary of the auto-da-fe, "The Ger- 
man Library of Burned Books" was opened in Paris under the presi- 
dency of Heinrich Mann. 

The cleansing of German literature has been carried forward re- 
lentlessly. The Prussian Academy of Poets was purified by the ejec- 
tion of Thomas and Heinrich'Mann, Jacob Wassermann, Bernhard 
Kellermann, Alfred Dolin, Franz Werfel, and Ludwig Fulda. The 
new Nazi members include Hans Grimm, author of Voll( o/ine 
Raum, and Hans Johst, author of a Schlageter play. Hans Ewers, 
biographer of Horst Wessel, became head of the Association of 
German Authors. In October 1933 the Thuringian Minister of Educa- 
tion announced that German book-stores must carry the works only 
of those wedded to Blut und Boden and Heldentum idealisrq. Jewish 
works, bourgeois-decadent "subjectivist" literature, metropolitan 
literature divorced from the land, Marxist, pacifist, internationalist, 
anti-religious, and foreign literature which is un-German or un- 
Nordic are all barred. Among scientific works, the ban was placed 
on anti-militarist works, liberal-democratic works, popular presenta- 
tions of Darwinism, and materialistic interpretations of the Great 
War. 1 

At the same time, strenuous efforts have been made to promote the 
development of an orthodox literature expounding and inculcating 

1 Berliner Tageblatt, October 18, 1933. 


the Nazi philosophy. "Out of the past Weltanschauung grew the 
political System and the so-called humanistic culture. We denounce 
this today as a frightful falsification. . . . We wish to found a new 
epoch. In the life process of a people we do not see eternal peace, but 
eternal conflict. August 1914 is the beginning of the German revolu- 
tion." * The writers of the past who are sufficiently "heroic" are still 
acceptable. Spengler, having for all practical purposes embraced the 
new cult, is generally praised, though his The Hour of Decision 2 
was assailed for its veiled ridicule of certain Nazi values and its 
rejection of the Nazi doctrine of race. 

In the interests of orthodoxy, Rosenberg was named dictator of 
the educational and spiritual work of the party on January 24, 1934. 
On April 17 Hess established a new censorship of Nazi publications. 
All manuscripts purporting to be "Nationalsocialist" must first be 
submitted to the Propagandaministerium and then approved by 
Philip Bouhler in the Brown House. A fee is charged for examina- 
tion. Only those approved may appear in the new Catalog of Nation- 
alsocialist Literature and be published with the blessing of the "Ex- 
amining Board for the Protection of Nationalsocialist Literature." 
Such manuscripts must first be offered to publishing houses owned by 
the party. Goebbels, Rosenberg, and Bouhler supervise the work of 
the board. On May i, 1934, public prices were awarded by Goebbels, 
at a session of the Reich Culture Chamber, to the best literary and 
artistic work done during the first year of the dictatorship. A medal 
and a purse of twelve thousand marks (the "Stefan George prize") 
went to Richard Euringer, unknown author of The German Passion 
of 1933. A second prize was awarded for the winning film, Fugitives, 
depicting the flight of Germans from the Bolshevist terror. The star 
actor, Hans Albers, was not mentioned because of his insistence on 
marrying a Jewess. Goebbels declared that "the decade of Germany's 
regeneration has not yet reached its final artistic expression." 3 Be- 
cause of declining book-sales Goebbels inaugurated a "National Book 
Week" early in November 1934, to stimulate the buying of Nazi 

As in all totalitarian dictatorships, culture is deliberately used as 

1 Alfred Rosenberg, V.B., April 29, 1934; cf. his address in the Kroll Opera, V.B., 
February 24, 1934. 

2 New York: Knopf; 1934. 

* The New Yor^ Times. May 2, 1934. 


a weapon of politics. 1 The values of the old culture, moreover, must 
be discredited and a new culture, or at least the illusion thereof, must 
be established. In this fashion the new political elite identifies itself 
with new arsthetic values and makes itself the beneficiary of the 
enthusiasm invariably evoked by the announcement that a new day 
has dawned in all the arts. The "new" cultural dispensation in the 
Third Reich, like the new socialism, the new politics, the new moral- 
ity, and the new religion, is thinly disguised reaction that is, a 
repudiation of modernism in all its manifestations and a reversion to 
values and standards of centuries long dead. At the Niirnberg con- 
vention of 1933, Hans Sachs, Peter Vischer, and Albrecht Diirer 
were depicted as the forerunners of Nationalsocialism. Modern met- 
ropolitan culture is denounced as "experiment, foolery, or bluff." 
"Bloodless dilettantism" is rejected. Culture is to be revived by a 
restoration of the soil which nourishes it. "Blut und bodcn? "soldierly 
rhythm," "heroism," "a steeled Romanticism" are the new watch- 
words. 2 Rust, speaking before the Nordic Society of Liibeck in June 
1934, even went so far as to forecast the conquest of western civiliza- 
tion by Nazi Kultur? In general, however, the new culture is looked 
upon as a unique and sacred flower of German blood and soil, not 
only superior to all other cultures, but incapable of being transmitted 
to inferior races. 

In the autumn of 1933 a Reich Culture Chamber was established 
in Berlin under the supervision of the Ministry of People's Enlight- 
enment and Propaganda. It consists of the seven "corporations" into 
which all cultural activity has been gleichgeschaltet namely, the 
chambers of literature, the press, radio, film, theatre, music, and 
painting and sculpture. 4 Goebbels and Goring clashed in their ef- 
forts to control the Prussian theatre, but finally composed their dif- 
ferences and co-ordinated their activities. 5 In the spring of 1934 
Goring was obliged to surrender his post as Prussian Minister of the 
Interior in favour of Frick. At the same time the Prussian Minister 
of Science, Art, and Education, Bernard Rust, while retaining this 

1 Richard Bie and Alfred Muhr: Die Kulturwaffen des Neuen Reiches (Jena: Dicdc- 
richs; 1933). 

2 Cf. Gocbbcls's address opening the Culture Chamber, Berliner Tagcblatt, November 
15. 1933- 

8 The New Vorf( Times, June 3, 1934. 

4 R.G.B., 1933, v l- 1 No- 105 (September 22), p. 661. 

5 V.B., December 23, 1933. 


post, was elevated to the new Reich Ministry of Science, Education, 
and People's Schooling (Wissenschajt, Erziehung und Volf^sbild- 
ung), to which certain functions were transferred from the Ministry 
of the Interior. 1 Rust, Gauleiter in Hanover and a friend of Hitler 
since December 1924, had distinguished himself in the Prussian 
Ministry, where he had laboured since February 1933, by "liquidat- 
ing the school as an institute of intellectual acrobatics," restoring 
bodily training and character-building, and filling the youth with 
warlike ardour. 2 In his new post he was given jurisdiction over school 
affairs, youth organizations, adult education, scientific institutes, and 
scientific relations with foreign countries. 3 The "co-ordination" of 
culture was completed by the union of the Kampfbund fiir Deutsche 
Kultur and the Reichsverband Deutsche Biihne into a N.S. Kultur- 
gemeinde, supervised by Rosenberg and made a part of the "Kraft 
durch Freude" organization of the Labour Front. 4 

A detailed consideration of aesthetics in the Third Reich is beyond 
the scope of the present study. Only a few general tendencies can be 
suggested. Art is "national," "Germanic," anti-Semitic, and anti- 
cosmopolitan. 5 Art and life are reunited. 6 Art flows from race and 
blood. 7 Music is emancipated from Jewish, foreign, and "European" 
influences and made again truly German. Mendelssohn is repudiated. 
Wagner is restored to full pre-eminence, with his exile from Ger- 
many as a revolutionist conveniently forgotten. The Bayreuth Fes- 
tival is heavily subsidized by the Reich. Toscanini may refuse to 
conduct, Paderewski, Hubermann, and other artists may spurn Furt- 
wangler's pleas for "reconciliation," but Teutonic, "Aryan" music 
must go its way. Furtwangler himself, director of the Berlin Philhar- 
monic Orchestra and of the Staatsopera, was compelled to resign early 
in December 1934, because of his interest in "modern" and "Jewish" 

The theatre serves "the people." 8 Musicians, actors, singers, and 

1 R.G.B., 1934, Vol. I, No. 51 (May 14), p. 375; cf. exchanges of letters between Hit- 
ler and Goring, March 17 and May i, V.B., May i, 1934. 
2 V.B., May i, 1934. 

8 Order of Hitler, May 1 1, 1934, V.B., May 15, 1934. 

4 Cf. Rosenberg's order of June 6 and exchange of letters between Rosenberg and Ley, 
V.B., June 14, 1934. 
5 Cf. Hitler's address on art at Nurnbcrg, September i, 1933. 

6 Cf. Rosenberg's address in V.B., May 8, 1934. 

7 Cf. Frick in Berliner Tagcblatt, October 20, 1933. 
8 Cf. Goring in Berliner Tageblatt, September 13, 1933. 


vaudeville and circus performers are all "co-ordinated." Max Rein- 
hardt is in exile, practising his incomparable stage art abroad, but 
the German stage is "pure," even if puerile. Under the new film 
code Goebbels is dictator of the cinema. "Jewish" films, "immoral" 
films, everything "un-German" or anti-Nazi is barred. Darre went 
so far as to denounce- a Nazi propaganda picture produced by UFA, 
Elut tind Scholle, because the chief character resembled Van der 
Lubbe. 1 Film critics in the press who complain of propaganda, or 
who even suggest that excessive romanticism in the cinema may 
diminish its aesthetic value, are promptly squelched by the Propa- 
ganda Minister. The radio likewise serves the revolution. Military 
marches and political speeches fill the programs. Listeners who tune 
in on Soviet stations are punished and those who boycott the new 
programs by discontinuing their monthly taxes and disconnecting 
their sets are denounced. 

Most outside observers are agreed that the new culture has created 
nothing noteworthy in any field of aesthetic activity save popular 
pageantry and political circuses. If new painters, sculptors, composers, 
architects, and writers are being developed, they have not yet become 
productive. The themes of war, heroism, medievalism, and racial 
mysticism offer no lack of subject-matter for great art. But the art 
has not emerged. Such new dramas as Schlageter, U-Boat 116, Land 
in Twilight (Friedrich Blunck), All against One (Forster-Burggraf), 
and The Hour of Sacrifice (Hellmuth Unger) have often bored 
even Nazi audiences. Some of the propaganda films, notably S.A. 
Man Brand, Hitlerjunge Quex, and Schuss an die Grenze, have 
artistic merit, but the German revolution shows no promise of giving 
birth to a new art of the cinema. Modernistic or "functional" archi- 
tecture is shunned for weak copies of baroque or neo-classical models. 
Nazi architecture has thus far been limited to the erection of Brown 
Houses and the construction of war memorials and bomb-proof 
Luftschittz cellars. The new fiction and verse appear barren. The 
"art of escape" has re-emerged in new forms: light musical comedies, 
sentimental ballads, and sugar-coated novels and plays. 

The apparent sterility of Nazi art, like that of Italian Fascist art, 
is probably not to be explained by the familiar formula which holds 
that art and propaganda are incompatible. The greatest aesthetic 
achievements of western culture in architecture and painting were 
1 Ibid., November 3, 1933. 


propaganda for Church or State in the French Middle Ages and the 
Italian Renaissance. In the Soviet Union, where propaganda and art 
are also indistinguishable, notable new styles have developed in 
music, the theatre, the cinema, and the dance. The explanation per- 
haps is that Nazi Kultur strives to re-create and repopularize the 
values and forms of epochs long dead, without being able to re-create 
the social, economic, and cultural soil out of which the old art orig- 
inally sprang. Race and blood can probably not be made to nourish 
great art, even at the command of a totalitarian dictatorship, in a 
land o monopolistic capitalism and urbanized industry. 

The sciences have been gleichgeschaltet to a comparable degree, 
not only by the dismissal of all Jewish scientists and professors and 
the regimentation of the survivors into organizations under the 
complete control of the party, but also by the repudiation of all no- 
tions of scientific "detachment" or "impartiality." The social studies 
have undergone most radical transformations. "It is not true," says 
Rosenberg, "that there is such a thing as an objective view of his- 
tory." * All history is in process of being rewritten from the Nazi 
viewpoint, with emphasis on race. Anthropology is little more than 
the glorification of Nordic superiority. Political science is the Fuhrer- 
prinzip. Economics must serve the cause of autarchy. Sociology is 
national megalomania. Some German social scientists, as a means of 
survival, have abandoned all generalizing and, taking their cue 
doubtless from the United States, have devoted themselves to weigh- 
ing, measuring, and tabulating all relatively innocuous occupations. 
But in general social science, as it is understood in the West, is non- 
existent in the Third Reich. 

Geography, physics, and chemistry are useful only as they serve 
military purposes: "Wehrwissenschajt" Astronomy is overshadowed 
by the popular cult of astrology. Even medicine is under suspicion. 
"Nature-healers" are favoured by the regime. 2 The tender solicitude 
of the Nazi leaders for non-human organisms has led to rigid re- 
strictions on vivisection, with deplorable results for medical research. 8 
The storm trooper who tortures or murders "enemies of the State" 
is idolized, but the citizen who chastises his horse or the bacteriolo- 
gist or physiologist who performs operations on dogs without special 

1 Speech at Miinstcr, September 16, 1934. 

2 Cf. address by Hess, Berliner Tageblatt, November 27, 1933. 
* Berliner Tageblatt, November 25, 1933. 


authorization is subject to heavy fines and jail sentences. 1 More than 
one operation on a single animal is unqualifiedly verboten. The cause 
of kindness to animals is thereby presumably furthered, but science 
is again placed in mediaeval shackles. 

Above all, science must serve the cause of race purification. Under 
the Sterilization Law a series of "Hereditary Health Courts" ( Erb- 
gestindheitsgerichte) were established throughout the Reich, with 
Appellate Courts and a Supreme Hereditary Health Court with 
power to deliver final judgments. Before these bodies all persons 
suspected of hereditary disease are obliged to appear and show cause 
why they should not be rendered sterile through a surgical operation. 
It was originally estimated that 400,000 persons would be affected, 
comprising nine categories: feeble-mindedness, 200,000; schizo- 
phrenia, 80,000; epilepsy, 60,000; manic-depressive insanity, 20,000; 
physical deformity, 20,000; deaf-mutism, 18,000; chronic alcoholism, 
10,000; St. Vitus's dance, 6,000; and blindness, 4,000. These categories 
are obviously unscientific and would necessarily include many in- 
stances of disabilities which are in no sense hereditary. Should Goeb- 
bels be sterilized for his club-foot, Ley for alcoholism, and Streicher 
for schizophrenia, the Reich might obviously be deprived of gifted 
children. But it may be presumed that the tribunals, supplied with 
competent medical advice, will <i void such miscarriages of justice. 

The Sterilization Law went into effect on January i, 1934.* Some 
of the tribunals were apparently embarrassed at the outset by an in- 
flux of healthy young men and women desiring to be sterilized for 
reasons best known to themselves. Voluntary operations were not 
performed, however, unless hereditary defects could be shown. The 
Berlin court, during the first ten weeks of its activity, ordered 325 
operations. In July it held that aliens, resident or transient, were also 
subject to the law. By midsummer 200 persons had been sterilized 
in Diisseldorf, 761 in Hamburg, 572 in Baden, etc. Complete privacy 
is observed and some states have provided penalties for those ridicul- 
ing the subjects of such operations. The estimated total of 400,000 will 
evidently not be reached for many years. 

If defectives are thus prevented from reproducing their kind, 
healthy Aryans, particularly "Nordics," are officially encouraged to 
marry and raise large families in accordance with the dictates of the 

1 R.G.B., 1933, Vol. i, No. 132 (November 24), p. 987. 

2 R.G.B., 1933, Vol. I, No. 86 (July 14), p. 529; No. 138 (December 5), p. 1021. 


new "race science." Leaders of the Hitler Jugend and the Hitler 
Madel sign pledges to perform their racial duty : to keep their bodies 
healthy; to refrain from marriage if afflicted with hereditary diseases; 
if untainted, to find a healthy Aryan mate; to protect the Fatherland 
from a declining birth-rate; and to strive for all that is healthy, strong, 
and heroic. 1 

Women in the Third Reich are relegated to the traditional Kinder, 
Kuche, Kirche (children, kitchen, and church). According to the 
Reichsreferentin of the Bund Deutscher Madel, Trude Mohr, two- 
thirds of the work of the Bun d is to be devoted to bodily develop- 
ment. For the rest, German girls must mould their lives according 
to the new Weltanschauung and fulfil their duties to family, race 
and State. 2 Co-education is discouraged and is eventually to be 
abolished. Some ten thousand women have been placed in small 
camps where they are trained to grow crops and to love the soil. 3 
Hitler has condemned women's rights as "a product of decadent 
Jewish intellectualism": 

"Liberalism has a large number of points for women's equality. The 
Nazi program for women has but one: this is the child. While man 
makes his supreme sacrifice on the field of battle, woman fights her 
supreme battle for her nation when she gives life to a child." 4 

A similar conception is to be found in the recommendations of 
Das Wissen der Nation (August 1933), a Nazi periodical: 

"Every Aryan hero should marry only a blonde Aryan woman with 
blue, wide-open eyes, a long, oval face, a pink and white skin, a 
narrow nose, a small mouth, and under all circumstances virginal. 
A blond blue-eyed man must marry no brunette, no Mediterranean- 
type woman with short legs, black hair, hooked nose, full lips, a large 
mouth, and an inclination to plumpness. A blond, blue-eyed Aryan 
hero must marry no Negroid type of woman with the well-known 
Negroid head and thinish body. The Aryan hero must marry only 
his equal Aryan woman, but not one who goes out too much or likes 
theatres, entertainment, or sport, or who cares to be seen outside her 

Woman suffrage is eventually to be abolished. Illegitimacy is to 

1 Text of pledges in V.B., April 15, 1934. 

2 V.B., June 14, 1934; see also regular V.B. supplement, "Rasse, Vol%, und Stoat." 

3 The New Yor^ Times, April 18, 1934. 

4 Address at Niirnbcrg party convention, September 8, 1934. 


be heavily penalized. Another ideal is the prohibition of divorce for 
parents with children and the facilitation of divorce for childless 
couples. Frick, divorced and re-wed to a divorcee at the age of fifty- 
seven, grows lyrical over the beauties of family life and the necessity 
of German women giving birth to three hundred thousand more 
children each year. "It is of the utmost importance to educate our 
girls to become virtuous German housewives and mothers. . . . 
The German woman who is bred in a true Nationalsocialist sense to 
be a German mother will secure from German youth the respect 
which is due her." l 

Marriage, the family, and children are objects of particular Nazi 
solicitude. Single men (Hitler always excepted) are encouraged to 
marry young and beget a large progeny. In November 1933 the Mayor 
of Frankfurt am Main ordered fifteen hundred unmarried municipal 
officials to find wives or lose their jobs. Numerous agencies have been 
created to encourage matrimony and reproduction among those who 
are "racially pure." In March 1934 a membership campaign was 
launched to support the N.S. Welfare Organization (N.S. Volfavohl- 
fahrt or NSV). As in the "winter relief" campaign, special donations 
were called for and an Eintopfgericht Sunday was decreed for March 
4 to aid the work of the NSV on behalf of mothers and children, 
comprising vacations, recreation homes, and "honorary godparent- 
hoods." 2 In May 1934 Hindenburg, Hitler, and Papen became god- 
fathers to male triplets born in Langenberg. 

Various measures have been taken to increase the birth-rate. Gov- 
ernment loans of a thousand marks are available to newly married 
couples, with a quarter of the loan cancelled for each child. In Octo- 
ber of 1933 a fifteen per cent income-tax reduction was announced 
for each of the first four children in the family, with a thirty per cent 
reduction for each child born thereafter. 3 School fees have been 
reduced for large families. 4 Comparable reductions have been made 
for medicinal services in the Kranfenfossen. During 1933 ^erc were 
621,000 marriages throughout the Reich, an increase of 24 per cent 
over 1932. In July 1934 the Prussian Statistical Bureau calculated that 
in thirty-six cities the number of marriages during the first quarter 

1 V.B., June 12, 1934. 

2 Ibid., March 3, 1934. 

3 Berliner Tagcblalt, October 19, 1933. 

4 V.B., January 6, and March 3, 1934. 


of 1934 was 52 per cent greater than in 1933, and the number of 
births 23 per cent greater. 1 

Nazi strategists view with alarm the decline of the excess of Ger- 
man births over deaths from 504,000 in 1912 to 292,000 in 1932. They 
have calculated that if past tendencies continue, the annual incre- 
ment to the German population will be less than 300,000 by 1952, 
scarcely larger than in France, Poland, or Italy. In 1936, however, 
Germany will increase her population by 281,000, as compared with 
105,000 for France. This will represent the low point caused by the 
Great War. But the Reich will not be ready for the next war by 1936. 
Consequently, no efforts must be spared to give Germany a teeming 
population of prospective cannon-fodder by the mid-century. 2 

The Gleichschaltung of religion and the transformation of the 
churches into propaganda agencies for the inculcation of National- 
socialism were also inevitable corollaries of the dictatorship. And 
precisely here, in the clash of two totalitarian Weltanschauungen, 
the NSDAP has encountered the most vigorous and articulate re- 
sistance to its policy. While the confused and stormy course of the 
new struggle between Church and State is beyond the scope of the 
present volume, 3 it may be noted that in the Church, and in the 
Church alone, the Nazi dictatorship has found an insuperable ob- 
stacle to its absolutistic pretensions. Every other German institution 
has been glcichgcschaltet and converted into an agency for the prop- 
agation of the Nazi gospel. The power of the Catholic Church was 
such that, in fundamentals at least, it won its fight for independence 
without a battle. Nazi efforts to control the Evangelical Church 
through Reichsbishop Ludwig Muller have split the organization and 
introduced endless conflict and confusion among clergy and laity. 
But they have not conquered Lutheranism nor converted German 
Protestants into such enthusiastic Nazis that they are willing to give 
the State precedence over the Church in all things or to acknowledge 
paganism or Nordic Christianity as their faith. The religious struggle 

1 The New Yor^ Times, July 20, 1934. 

2 Cf. population table in V.B., February 6, 1934. 

3 Cf. Charles S. MacFarland: The New Church and the New Germany (New York: 
Macmillan; 1934); Erdmann Schott: Die N.S. Revolution als theologisches Problem 
(Tubingen: Mohr; 1934); H. M. Mueller, Der innere Weg der deutschen Kirche (ibid., 
1934); Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber: Judaism, Christianity, Germany (New York: 
Macmillan; 1934); Wilhclm Gerdcmann: Christentyeuz oder Hakenfyeuz (Cologne, 
1930; Jacob Noetges: National socialismus und Katholismus (Cologne, 1932); etc. 


has not as yet seriously undermined the political domination of the 
NSDAP. Like most other modern peoples, Germans are patriots 
first and Christians second. Whether the Third Reich can still be 
described as being in any sense a Christian State is debatable in view 
of its values and practices. But its citizens, however loyal to Hitler, 
still regard themselves in overwhelming numbers as Christians and 
have successfully resisted the destruction of the Christian Church. 

The explanation of this phenomenon is doubtless to be found in 
the circumstance that the Nazi Weltanschauung has here come into 
conflict with another Weltanschauung far older, more stable, more 
secure, and more consistent than its own. 1 Each is absolutistic and 
universal in its pretensions. The irresistible force meeting the im- 
movable body has proved to be not so irresistible as its champions 
believed. The organization and integration of emotional life and 
social activities about the symbols of liberalism and Marxism could 
be smashed. Christianity and, be it noted, Judaism as well have 
survived the assault. Dogmas, creeds, and ways of life as ancient as 
Moses and the apostles of the Carpenter of Nazareth, and as deeply 
rooted in the soil of successive western cultures as Jerusalem and 
Rome, have not yielded to a new dogma which only fifteen years ago 
was merely hot air in Munich beer halls. A new set of values, like 
Communism in Russia, which actually fills all the emotional wants 
formerly satisfied by organized religion, can conceivably supersede 
older faiths. But a set of values which is in its essence a product of 
temporary neuroses, of mass paranoia and megalomania, cannot 
weather away the great structures reared by ancient faith. 

1 Cf. the highly suggestive article by Paul Tillich: "The Totalitarian State and the 
Claims of the Church," Social Research, November 1934; pp. 405-33. 




THE ultimate technique of politics is the apportionment of material 
benefits among the major strata of the social hierarchy in such a 
fashion as to ensure acquiescence in the status quo and loyalty to 
those wielding governmental power. This technique is "ultimate" 
in the sense that the whole political process may be regarded as a 
product of competition and conflict among social groups for material 
and psychic satisfactions. Property and money are but two means 
toward satisfactions, but since they command all others, the compe- 
tition for possession of them is not only the focal point of economic 
motivations and activities, but is likewise the most basic incentive to 
political behaviour. Save for the Soviat Union, all known civilized 
societies and all cultures have conformed to this pattern. Material 
wealth in such societies is the key to social position, prestige, and 
power. Status, deference, and influence in turn are often sought after 
because of the opportunities which they afford for the acquisition of 
additional property and money. Since the human animal, however, 
habitually makes ends of his means, these opportunities are frequently 
striven for as things good in themselves, affording psychic satisfac- 
tions not to be measured by the current medium of exchange. 

Control of the State is an end normally sought after as a means 
of influencing the distribution of satisfactions in a fashion advan- 
tageous to each group of aspirants for power and pelf. It is likewise 
an end in itself and an immediate channel to jobs and perquisites 
for professional politicians. But no group of politicians can secure or 
retain power unless it serves not only its own interests but those 
of decisive interest-aggregations in the community as a whole. In 

the expanding and prosperous economies of the western world in 



the nineteenth century, the role of the State in the distributive proc- 
ess was first reduced to a minimum and then, in appearance at least, 
transformed into that of a service agency for the entire population. 
Where goods and services are increasingly abundant, the competition 
among groups for a larger share of the total is less keen, less embit- 
tered, less significant for politics than in societies afflicted with famine 
and impoverishment. In the contracting and impecunious economies 
of the post-war world this competition has frequently been intensified 
to the point of open conflict. The State must arbitrate, intervene, and 
regulate the agencies and procedures of distribution which were 
once "private" and uncontrolled. Ruling classes and revolutionists 
must again protect and promote their interests by "political" means 
in the narrower sense. The dictatorial, totalitarian "corporative" State 
is the end-point of this development in the increasingly monopolistic 
economies of the twentieth-century imperialisms. The State is again 
the decisive distributive agency. Control of the State becomes in- 
dispensable to those groups which would secure for themselves the 
largest share of a shrinking income. 

The Fascist State is the creation of a political movement reflecting 
the neuroses of a lower middle class and a peasantry reduced to 
desperation by social insecurity and impoverishment. It is also the 
product of the determination of business and agrarian elites to safe- 
guard their social positions by destroying the power of other groups 
who challenge or undermine their privileges. The NSDAP grew out 
of the social and spiritual sickness of the Klcinburgerttim. It became 
the tool of the established ruling classes against their enemies. As soon 
as its leaders rejected social revolution and identified themselves with 
the rural aristocracy and the urban plutocracy, they were obliged to 
protect the classes against the masses and to use their power in a way 
advantageous to the elites which they served. Any alternative policy 
would alienate the classes where ultimate political and economic 
power reside, and disintegrate the social bases of the dictatorship. This 
inner contradiction of a "socialistic" mass party serving the interests 
of Property and Profits is the secret of the economic and social pro- 
gram of the rulers of the Third Reich. It explains the political tech- 
niques employed by the NSDAP and the role of the new State in 
the whole distributive process. 

The weapons of power thus far reviewed are products of political 
exigencies inherent in the paradox already suggested. The composi- 


tion of the party and of the S.A., no less than the content of a new 
Weltanschauung born of petty-bourgeois frustrations, rendered any 
open and avowed championship of Junkerdom and monopolistic 
capitalism impossible. Hitler and his aides were compelled to talk 
"socialism" and to glorify small business men, peasants, and wage- 
earners as a means of retaining their mass following. They were also 
compelled to appease aristocrats and industrialists or face destruction. 
This apparently impossible task was simplified by the neurotic and 
irrational character of mass expectations. Political sadism, the perse- 
cution of scapegoats, the glorification of war, the encouragement of 
racial megalomania, and the systematic inculcation of the new faith 
have afforded substantial psychic satisfactions to a populace whose 
sickness of the soul has progressed so far that it makes a virtue of 
poverty and abnegation, idealizes armed conflict and death, prefers 
mythology to nutrition, demands swords instead of beefsteaks, and 
gives precedence to goose-stepping over the pleasures of digestion. 
Circuses have in part taken the place of bread. 

It may be assumed, however, that ultimately the ancient and eter- 
nal question will pose itself imperatively: "When do we eat?" For 
the leaders of the NSDAP and for many of their party followers, 
this question had already been answered. While no authoritative in- 
formation is available as to the detailed distribution of wealth and 
income among the political elite of the party, it is clear that places 
on public pay-rolls, royalties from publications, receipts from collec- 
tions, and innumerable opportunities for legal or extra-legal profit 
have enriched thousands of leaders. The process of making the party 
pay large dividends to its organizers began long before it secured 
power. 1 Once in complete control of the machinery of the State, 
opportunities for profit were greatly multiplied. Hitler, who gener- 
ously gave up his salary as Chancellor, was believed, in 1932, to have 
an annual income of more than 400,000 marks, derived from royalties 
on Mcin Kampf, the profits of the party press, lecture fees, dona- 
tions, party posts, and sundry invisible sources. Since January 30, 
1933, he has probably received more than 500,000 marks per year as 
a net income. Goring, already wealthy, perhaps collects 100,000 marks 
a year in his various salaries and fees. Goebbels is probably not less 
fortunate. The Statthalters receive 33,000 marks annually as basic 
salaries. Almost all of the higher party leaders occupy one or more 
* Cf. pp. 8sf. above. 


important governmental posts, and most of them receive rent-free 
homes, travelling expenses, and living allowances from the State. 

These incomes compare favourably with those of people in the 
lower brackets of the industrial and financial elite. Ostentatious dis- 
play and conspicuous waste, however, are discouraged. Hitler, as 
an ascetic Messiah, creates the public impression of living simply 
and modestly. He and Hess have repeatedly urged simplicity and 
frugality upon their subordinates, at least in their public roles. Gor- 
ing's extravagant foibles are an exception to the rule among party 
leaders. Privately the dictators are free to gratify their every whim. 
Those who fall from Der Fuhrer's favour and are condemned to 
liquidation are accused of luxury and vice. 1 But since the accusation 
is certain to be made in any case as a means of discrediting victims 
of Hitler's wrath among the populace, the joys of extravagance and 
sinning may as well be tasted while they last. Those who remain 
among the faithful are free to indulge themselves in private, so long 
as they do not thereby create envy and resentment among their less 
fortunate followers. 

Apart from salaries, the party leaders have access to funds from the 
innumerable "voluntary" assessments and donations levied upon 
party members and upon the public at large. While the bulk of such 
funds doubtless goes to the causes for which they are nominally col- 
lected, it is probable that a considerable portion finds its way into 
the private pockets of the collectors not usually the S.A. men or 
Hitler Youth, with their tin cups and subscription blanks, but rather 
the higher party and S.A. leaders who direct the collections. Many 
contributions are gladly given, even by those of moderate means. 
Others are extracted from business men and property-owners by 
methods not far removed from blackmail. Following the revelations 
of graft and corruption in high places after "Bloody Saturday," the 
voluntary donations manifested a tendency to decline. In July 1934 
Der Angriff began publishing detailed reports on wealthy west-end 
contributors, hoping in this fashion to flatter the generous and stig- 
matize the stingy. Withholding donations or grumbling about col- 
lections may be followed by highly unpleasant consequences. Mil- 
lions of marks can therefore be extracted with little difficulty from 
individuals and corporations. There has never been any public ac- 
counting made of the use of such funds, nor any effort other than 

1 Cf. p. 447 below. 


exhortation to ensure honesty in their administration. 

As for the rank and file of the party, all members of the S.S. are 
well paid (salaries of this kind are kept secret) and many S.S. leaders 
hold other lucrative posts. While many of the higher SA. leaders 
have enhanced their incomes from party or State posts, the majority 
of storm troopers with regular jobs have been obliged to contribute 
rather than to share in the distribution of the profits of power. S.A. 
men receive no stipends for their services unless they are unemployed. 
Their poverty has bred unrest and led to successive crises within the 
movement. Through dues and assessments, as well as through ex- 
hortations, other party members are likewise assured that it is holier 
to give than to receive. There can be no doubt but that the great 
majority of the four million party members and applicants have 
derived only psychic satisfactions from their creed. Efforts have been 
made, however, to find jobs first for unemployed Partei-genossen. 
Party members receive preferential treatment in the administration 
of employment offices. By June of 1934, ninety per cent of the "old 
fighters" in Berlin had received jobs, and all party members through- 
out the Reich with cards from No. i to No. 100,000 had been pro- 
vided for. 1 During 1933 many party members secured jobs as "pro- 
tectors" of Jews and non-Nazis: lawyers, deputies, guards, etc. On 
the other hand, storm troopers and party members are subject to 
special party discipline, are discouraged from belonging to organi- 
zations without military or political aims, and are forbidden to take 
time off from their regular employment for party service. 2 It may 
nevertheless be said that, with the exception of certain groups of 
S.A. men who are habitually under suspicion, the distribution of 
jobs, favours, and honours among the members of the NSDAP has 
been such as to ensure their loyalty for motives not exclusively 
philosophical or altruistic. 


How has the business elite fared under the dictatorship, which was 
so generously subsidized and called into being by influential business 
men? Such initial fears of "socialism" as employers and entrepreneurs 
entertained in the spring of 1933 have been largely dispelled. The 

1 V.B., June 8, 1934. 

2 Berliner Tagcblatt, November 22, 1933; The New Yor% Times, March 30, 1934. 


early efforts of the Nazi radicals to create a "Workers' State" and to 
regiment private business initiative in the name of the new socialism 
were promptly squelched by Der Fuhrer, All hope of a "Second Revo- 
lution" was crushed by Hitler in July 1933.* On July n Frick issued a 
decree to the Statthalters ordering them to prevent all meddling with 
business by self-appointed party commissions and to dissolve such 
groups by October i. The business commissars were dismissed. Un- 
authorized interference by party members in the management of 
enterprises was forbidden. With Muchow dead, Feder relegated to 
an innocuous role, Wagener discharged, and Schmitt and Keppler 
appointed to important posts, no question remained as to the deter- 
mination of the party leaders to protect private property and private 

The Gleichschaltung of business within the framework of private 
capitalism nevertheless continued. The new capitalism differed from 
the old in that free competition in a free market was largely displaced 
by governmentally protected monopolies subjected to State regula- 
tion of prices, wages, and marketing. The illusory National Eco- 
nomic Council, created in 1919, was abolished on March 24, I934- 2 
On September 20, 1933, however, a new General Economic Council 
(Generalrat dcr Wirtschaji) held its first session in the presence of 
Schmitt and Hitler. This bodysvas designed to assist the government 
in preparing its economic measures in consultation with representa- 
tives of business. Among its members were Fritz Thyssen and Dr. 
Voegler of Miilheim; Karl Bosch and Krupp von Bohlen und Hal- 
bach of Essen; Karl von Siemens of Berlin; Banker-Baron von 
Schroeder of Cologne; bankers Fink, Otto Fischer, Friedrich Rein- 
hart, and Hjalmar Schacht; factory managers Boehringer, Diehn, 
and Hackelsberger; many other financiers and industrialists, and 
Dr. Robert Ley. 3 Hitler declared that economic recovery depended 
upon private initiative. Critics would be repressed. "The power of 
the State is always the pathfinder of business.' 1 Local and national 
public finances would be put in order through a sharp reduction of 
welfare expenditures. The labour-creation program would be pushed 
forward, but taxes on business and agriculture would be lightened 

1 Cf. pp. 267!:. above. 

ZR.GJB., 1934, Vol. I, No. 15, p. 115. 

* V.B., September 19, 1933. 


and the capital market would be left undisturbed. 1 

The provisions of the Nazi program calling for nationalization of 
trusts and municipalization of department stores were conveniently 
forgotten. Interest rates were reduced, but the credit structure re- 
mained unchanged and the "bonds of interest slavery" continued to 
bind. The captains of industry and the much maligned barons of the 
Bourse were encouraged to reaffirm the sacredness of property and 
profits. Krupp, president of the Reichsstand der deutschen Industrie 
(successor to the Reichsverband der Industrie), declared in October 
1933 that private initiative would remain the basis of the State's 
economic policy. Employers would carry out their practical mission 
and would eschew "theories" and experimentation, confident of the 
support of the government to which they acknowledged allegiance. 
"On September 20 I thanked Hitler for the confidence he had shown 
to men of practical business by summoning them into the General 
Economic Council. I promised him the unqualified support of all 
branches and organizations of business." 2 Keppler asserted that 
production was the central problem of economic life. Trade serves 
production by distributing goods. In commerce responsibility must 
be restored to the individual merchant and great merchants are as 
necessary as small ones. 3 On November 7, 1933, in a great demon- 
stration in Berlin, Voegler, Krupp, Fischer, Schacht, and other in- 
dustrialists expressed their complete accord with Hitler's "peace" 
policy. 4 

Even the more radical party leaders followed this line: 

"Our socialism ... is the legacy of the Prussian army. ... It is 
that kind of socialism which enabled Frederick the Great to carry 
on a war for seven years." (Goebbels in Berliner Borsen Zeitung, 
December 15, 1933.) 

"Nationalsocialism sees precisely in creative personalities the pre- 
requisite of the co-operation of State and Business. . . . National- 
socialism achieves a synthesis of State and Business. . . . The State 
should lead business, not conduct business." (Gottfried Feder, V.B., 
January 4, 1934.) 

1 Berliner Nachtausgabc, September 21, 1933. 

2 Berliner Tageblatt, October 18, 1933. 

3 V.B., October 21, 1933. 

4 Berliner Tageblatt, November 8, 1933. 


"Feder has found a most happy formulation in the phrase: 'na- 
tionalizing the banks.' By this, of course, he does not mean national- 
ization or socialization of the banks." (Deutsche Bcrgwer1{s Zeitung, 
December i, 1933.) 

Business was further liberated from radical pressure and at the 
same time further 'co-ordinated in the spring and summer of 1934. 
On March 13 Schmitt, acting under the u Law for the Organic Up- 
building of German Economy," 1 which authorized him to simplify 
and unify the various organizations of German business men, an- 
nounced to the General Economic Council that German business 
would henceforth be organized in twelve great groups, each with 
its "leader": mining and metallurgy (Krupp); shipping, engineer- 
ing, electro-technical, optical, and other fine mechanical industries 
(Blohm); iron, tin, and metal products (Hartkopf); stone, earth, 
lumber, glass, ceramics, and building (Voegler); chemicals, oils, 
fats, and paper (Pietzsch); leather, textiles, and clothing (Dierig); 
foodstuffs (Schiiler); handiwork; commerce; banks and credits; 
insurance; and transportation. The first seven groups were united in 
the Reichsstand dcr Industrie, still headed by Krupp. The remainder 
were united on December 3, 1934 into a "Reich Chamber of Busi- 
ness," headed by Ewald Hecker, a Harz steel magnate. Schmitt be- 
came industrial dictator, aidefl by Philip Kessler, chairman of the 
board of the Verzmann Electric Company of Berlin, and by Count 
Ruediger von der Goltz as Kessler's deputy. These officials were 
given supervisory powers over the twelve industrial groups, with 
authority to enforce their regulations by punishing offenders. Ger- 
man business is regulated by State decrees enforceable in the courts, 
rather than by more or less voluntary codes, as in the United States 
under the NRA. Schmitt indicated that fixed prices and production 
quotas would be exceptional rather than general. Competition would 
be regulated and made "fair and honest" by regulations enforced in 
the "Courts of Honour." 2 

The basic principle of the new economy is the ultimate authority 
and responsibility of the individual entrepreneur. 3 The new State 
represents "True Lordship," in the opinion of Papen: "A difference 
in human talents demands a division into leaders and led. Whether 

1 R.G.B., 1934, Vol. I, February 27, p. 185. 

2 The New Yor% Times, March 14 and 15, 1934. 
8 Cf. Kcsslcr in V.B., April 25, 1934. 


the national wealth takes the form of individual ownership or com- 
mon ownership, there will always remain the fact that only a few 
heads dispose of it and only a few hands guide the reins." * At the 
Second Labour Congress on May 16, 1934, Hitler ridiculed the Soviet 
planned economy and asserted that natural selection and the survival 
of the fittest must rule in business. 2 Ley declared: "Here in Germany 
we mean to breed masterful men in all strata of the population, men 
imbued with pride founded on their capabilities and performances." 8 

Friction between Schmitt and Kessler and certain conflicts of views 
among industrialists over the reorganization of industry led to 
Kessler's abrupt dismissal from his post as Reich Economic Leader 
on July n, 1934. He was replaced by Count von der Goltz. The new 
leader was not entirely welcome to some business groups because of 
his criticism of cartels. His appointment was interpreted in some 
circles as a victory of Thyssen, Krupp, and the iron and steel interests 
over electrical interests favouring extensive State control of monopo- 
lies. 4 The conservative Wilhelm Keppler remained confidential 
economic adviser to Hitler. 

In practice, however, the Minister of Economics has assumed 
more and more control over German business life. Under the law 
of July 15, 1933 5 h e was empowered to form compulsory cartels or 
price-fixing agreements, to regulate *he rights and duties of their 
members, to dissolve existing business combinations, and to forbid 
the establishment of new firms or the extension of existing ones in 
any branch of industry. Up to March 1934 compulsory cartels had 
been formed in thirteen industries, and by July twenty industries 
had been forbidden to expand plants or build new ones. 6 The whole 
system of price-fixing through cartels, which had been falling into 
decay, was revived by Hitler and made an integral part of the Fascist 
economy. An emergency decree of July 3, 1934 7 empowered the 
Minister of Economics, up to September 30, "to take all measures 
necessary to promote German commerce as well as to protect and 

1 Qutcd in The New Yor^ Times, April 26, 1934. 

2 V.B., May 17, 1934. 

8 Quoted in The New Yor% Times, May 17, 1934. 
4 The New Yor^ Times, July 19, IQVJ. 

6 R.G.B., 1933, Vol. I, No. 82, p. 488. 

Cf. J. W. F. Thclwall: Economic Conditions in Germany (London: Department of 
Overseas Trade; 1934); and Mildred Wcrtheimcr: "The Economic Structure of the 
Third Reich," FPA Reports, September 26, 1934. 

7 K.G.B., 1934, Vol. I, No. 74, p. 565. 


improve economic conditions." Such measures might deviate from 
existing law. The Minister was further authorized to punish viola- 
tions of his orders by imprisonment or unlimited fines. 

Following the retirement of Kurt Schmitt because of illness, 
Hjalmar Schacht was appointed by Hitler as Minister of Economics 
for a period of six months beginning August 2, 1934. He continued 
co hold his post as president of the Reichsbank, in which capacity he 
exercised extensive powers over the German banking system. As 
Minister of Economics he assumed authority to appoint and remove 
all chairmen and all members of the advisory committees of all 
chambers of industry and commerce throughout the Reich. The 
new business dictator is even more completely free from all suspicion 
of social radicalism than was his predecessor. He long ago dropped 
his two baptismal names: Horace Greeley. A bank director at the 
age of twenty-six, he became financial administrator of occupied 
Belgium during the war, president of the Darmstadter National 
Bank thereafter, and stabilizer of the mark in 1923. He remained a 
Democrat as long as it paid him to do so, and then became a Nazi. 
In 1919 he delivered socialistic harangues in Wittenbergplatz in 
Berlin. Jewish and liberal friends, including Georg Bernard of the 
Vossische Zeitung, helped him to secure his first appointment as 
president of the Reichsbank. He was appointed by Hilferding 
Socialist Minister of Finance, to ensure "liberal" and "democratic" 
control of the institution. Hitler appointed him to this post once 
more on March 16, 1933, in the face of considerable Nazi opposition. 
He had played an important, though still somewhat obscure, role 
in the Thyssen-Papen-Schroeder-Hugenberg-Landbund conspiracy 
which elevated Hitler to the chancellorship. The evidences of em- 
bezzlement in Belgium, for which he had almost been jailed during 
the war, were expunged from the Reichsbank reports. This economic 
Napoleon of the Third Reich is unscrupulous, eccentric, and am- 
bitious and is at all times the staunch protector of German capitalism. 
He has changed his politics as readily as he changed from soft collars 
to the high, stiff halters which he now affects. 

The NSDAP has thus kept the faith with the captains of industry 
and finance. Hitler is unshakably loyal to Thyssen, Krupp, Schroeder, 
et al. The new German capitalism monopolistic, cartelized, and 
regimented is safe in the hands of capitalist Schacht, who, more 
than any other, defends property and profits, scoffs at socialization, 


champions a Spcnglerian imperialism, and makes certain that the 
burdens of the new era rest lightly on the backs of his fellow indus- 
trialists and financiers. 


THE smashing of the German trade unions has been discussed above. 1 
There remain for consideration the position of labour in the second 
year of the Third Reich and the fruits of toil vouchsafed to the toilers 
by the Nazi dictatorship. The Labour Front and the NSBO remain 
the two great organizations of German workers, though the former 
includes employers as well. By May 1934 the Labour Front had 
twenty-three million members that is, practically the entire gain- 
fully occupied population of the country save those in agriculture. 2 
The organization has never been envisaged as a trade union or an 
agency for the protection of workers against employers. The two are 
now one in the Nazi view. In the words of Ley: 

"I went myself to the worker, gave him my hand, and spoke as 
man to man. . , . Not one asked me if I had in my pockets higher 
wages or new wage agreements. I recognized the justice of the words 
that the love of the child for the mother does not depend on whether 
she is rich or poor, but only on whether she cares for the child. . . . 
The struggle of the workers is not fo*r pennies, but for honour and 
respect." 3 

The work of the Arbeitsjront has been largely confined to the fields 
of propaganda, circuses, and conversion. To fulfil its task it has 
extended its activities to cover the whole life of German workers. 
It has its own youth organization. Late in 1933 Ley decided to copy 
the Italian Dopolavoro organization established by Mussolini in 
May 1925. This was designed to control and regiment the use of 
leisure time by wage-earners and to provide recreation to keep them 
from "dangerous thoughts." The German counterpart was at first 
christened "Nach der Arbeit" (After Work) and then definitely 
named ''Kraft durch Freude" (Strength through Joy). Ley indicated 
that the rationalization of industry, with resultant shorter hours of 
work, must not cause workers to waste their idle time in trade-union 
activity or in political discussion. All recreational associations in the 

* Cf. pp. 223f. 

2 V.B., May 16, 1934. 
8 Ibid., March 2, 1934. 


Reich were brought into the new organization, which has offices for 
culture, sport, travel, vacations, education, and the honour and duty 
of labour. <4 I am convinced," declared Goebbels, "that we have ac- 
tually begun a work which will last for centuries. I am further con- 
vinced that this work will develop into an unending blessing for 
millions of people in Germany, now and in the future." 

Kraft durch Freude began operations at the end of December 
1933. ft provides entertainments, concerts, lectures, and outings. 
Those workers who are sullen or uninterested are encouraged to 
participate by gentle hints and by the example of their happy fellow 
workers, now liberated from union domination, political activity, 
and revolutionary fantasies. Twelve thousand workers were sent to 
winter sport resorts. A resort proprietor who refused to entertain 
workers was put to digging ditches in a labour service camp "to 
show him what Nationalsocialism means." * During the summer of 
1934 thousands of workers were given special prizes, in the form 
of vacation cruises on ocean liners in the North and Baltic Seas. 
Naval manoeuvres contributed to the festivities. The goal is a vaca- 
tion for every worker. Employers who are recalcitrant are to be 
disciplined. 2 The purpose of this program, like that of Bismarck's 
social legislation, is to win the loyalty of the proletariat to the estab- 
lished social and political order. While Bismarck apparently failed 
in the short run, the behaviour of German labour in 1914, 1919, and 
1933 showed that his policies had indeed succeeded in reducing the 
revolutionary sentiments of German labour to harmlessness. Given 
favourable economic conditions, Krajt durch Freude might succeed 
as well if its propaganda were accompanied by material benefits 
and enhanced economic security for the worker, as it is not. 

Meanwhile, the adjustment of disputes over employment, dis- 
missals, wages, and conditions of work was entrusted to thirteen 
Trustees of Labour, appointed under the law of May 19, 1933 8 These 
political officials, most of whom were not labour leaders, but Be- 
amters or retired army officers, were given full power to settle dis- 
putes through co-operation with employers and with factory councils 
named by the leaders of the Arbeitsjront. This tentative arrangement 
was not entirely satisfactory, since the councils tended to act as 

1 The New york Times, March 27, 1934. 

2 Cf. statement of Dr. Dacschncr, Brandenburg Labour Trustee, ibid., September 4, 


*R.G.B., 1933, Vol. I, No. 52, p. 285. 


spokesmen for the interests of wage-earners. 1 This difficulty was 
gradually remedied, however, and labour was finally given a "new 
social constitution" in the form of the law of January 20, 1934. On 
Sunday, January 14, before its terms were announced, two hundred 
thousand workers were assembled in the Berlin Lustgarten, with 
comparable throngs in other cities, to celebrate the new freedom. 
Goebbels declared: 

"We are no troops to guard the moneybags of capitalism. We have 
come to give labour its bread, and the nation its honour. Ours was a 
socialist revolution, a revolution of the labour movement. It was 
made not by the rich, but by the poor. It was a revolution not only 
against Marxism, but against reaction." 2 

The new labour code the "Law for the Organization of National 
Labour" 8 abolished trade unionism, collective bargaining, the 
right to strike, and the freedom of workers to organize for their own 
protection. It abrogated eleven republican laws designed to protect 
the rights of labour. It asserted the principle of "leadership in busi- 
ness." Each employer was designated as a "leader" in his enterprise. 
Workers are "followers." "The leader decides all questions relating 
to the undertaking. He must care for the welfare of his followers. 
These must accord him the loyalty demanded by the shop com- 
munity" (Paragraph 2). The employer is chairman of his Shop 
Council, which is charged with discussing working conditions and 
with "deepening the common consciousness of trust within the 
factory community." The council members are elected by the work- 
ers from among "nationally reliable employees" at least twenty-five 
years of age and one year in the plant. The employer makes all 
decisions, fixes wages, and draws up his own shop code within the 
terms of existing legislation, but the council, by a majority vote, may 
appeal to the local Labour Trustees. The trustee, a political appointee 
with a one-year term and supervised by the Minister of Labour, may 
regulate minimum wage rates. He hears all disputes and may impose 
fines and prison terms. Lock-outs, like strikes, are forbidden. Mass 

1 Deutsche Bergwerfc Zeitung, December 10, 1933: "Unfortunately the Shop Councils 
have until now often represented only the one-sided interests of the workers, contrary 
to the regulations of the law concerning Shop Councils. This was because only the 
workers and the office employees were represented in them. In the future the em- 
ployer, who bears the economic risk, will be the deciding factor in the Shop Councils, 
in accordance with the leadership principle." 

2 V.B., January 16, 1934; The New Yor( Times, January 15, 1934. 
*R.G.B., 1934, Vol. I, pp. 45f. 


dismissals must be preceded by four weeks' notice. An individual 
worker who is discharged may apply to a labour court for redress. 
He may be reinstated with compensation if his dismissal appears 
unjustly harsh or if it is "not warranted by the condition of the 

The law further establishes "Courts of Social Honour" (Ehren- 
gerichte), one in each district of the Labour Trustees. They consist 
of a judge as chairman, appointed jointly by the Ministers of Labour 
and Justice, one "leader," and one "follower" who is a member of 
a Shop Council. The latter two are appointed by the judge from lists 
prepared by the Labour Front. These courts are designed to ensure 
the fulfilment of responsibilities by both employers and workers. 
Suits may be initiated only on the application of the Labour Trustee. 
An appellate Reich Court of Honour was also established. The 
courts may impose fines up to ten thousand marks, issue warning, 
and order the dismissal of "followers" or of "leaders." Employers 
may be tried who "maliciously exploit the labour of their followers 
or insult their honour." Workers may be tried who "through ma- 
licious agitation endanger labour peace within the shop, deliberately 
interfere with the management, or make frivolous complaints to the 
Labour Trustee." "The conflict of interests," declared Minister of 
Labour Seldte, "is to be abcjished. Both sides will have but one 
common interest, that of keeping on with the work in hand, which 
is a matter of social honour." l 

These arrangements are almost adequate to satisfy the most ardent 
advocate of the "open shop" in the National Manufacturers Associa- 
tion of the United States. Strikes are outlawed. Lock-outs or shut- 
downs are permissible if notice is given. Each employer himself fixes 
wages, hours, and conditions of work within the limits of national 
law. He may rid himself of agitators by application to the trustee. 
Labour has no voice in management. Exploitation is permissible, so 
long as it is not "malicious" or "insulting." The trustees and the 
courts are "safe," from the employer's point of view. The code went 
into effect on May i, 1934. Most existing wage scales were continued 
and wage increases were declared impossible as long as unemploy- 
ment prevailed. Many Jewish employers appointed Aryan deputies 
as "leaders." The conservative William Green, president of the 
American Federation of Labor, declared that the code completed the 
1 AP dispatch, January 16, 1934; cf. Sddtc in The New York Times, March 8, 1934. 


reduction of German workers to servitude and asserted that the 
Federation would continue its boycott on German goods as a means 
of protest. 1 

Sufficient time has not yet elapsed to allow a definitive judgment 
of the new system. Where labour is deprived of the right to organize 
and strike, the eventual result is almost invariably a lowering of 
wages, a worsening of working conditions, and a progressive exploi- 
tation of the proletariat comparable to that which existed prior to the 
rise of modern trade unionism. In Fascist Italy, where an identical 
system has prevailed for over a decade, monetary and real wages 
have steadily declined until, by 1933, the average hourly wage was 
slightly more than 1.5 lire, less than in any other important industrial 
country. In Germany no general reductions of money wages have 
been publicly admitted, though rising costs of living have reduced 
real wages. When further reductions of costs become necessary to 
compete in ever shrinking markets, it may be surmised that labour 
will pay the bill. Practical political and military considerations, no 
less than the new race mysticism, serve to check exploitation to some 
degree. The NSDAP has not yet swept away the elaborate social 
insurance systems built up under the empire and the republic, though 
it has curtailed them and shifted a portion of the burden from the 
public treasury to the workers themstlves. It has definitely limited 
the freedom of employers to discharge workers arbitrarily. 

But labour in any case is a ward of the State. If it fares well, it will 
be because its masters and its rulers are both prosperous and benevo- 
lent. If it fares ill, it has no means of defence. The transfer to the 
Labour Front of the property of the former employers' associations, 
as well as of the old trade unions, in October 1934, and the admission 
of Labour Front officials to the "arbitration" of disputes before they 
are submitted to the trustees were regarded as victories for those of 
Ley's subordinates who wished to convert the Arbcitsjront into a 
genuine union. 2 The labour code, moreover, deviates from the 
Fuhrerprinzip in that elections of Shop Councils are permitted. It 
was rumoured that in the summer of 1934 many members were 
elected who were not regarded as "nationally reliable" by the Nazi 
leaders. But in general, German labour is at the mercy of its em- 
ployers. These employers are highly regimented, restricted, and con- 

1 The New Yor^ Times, January 18, 1934. 
*Thc New York Times, October 29, 1934. 


trolled by the State. They are often blackmailed and exploited by 
Nazi politicians. The State, however, is in the exclusive power of a 
party which grew out of the anti-proletarian prejudices of the Klein- 
burgertum and peasantry and is committed to the service of large 
industrialists and financiers. To the degree to which Ley and his 
aides yield to mass pressure to protect workers' interests at the ex- 
pense of employers, they are in danger of dismissal by the party 

The proudest boast of the NSDAP is that it has conquered unem- 
ployment. The number of registered jobless reached a high point of 
6,016,000 in February 1933. This figure declined rapidly as the year 
wore on and then increased slightly, in accordance with the usual 
seasonal fluctuations, to 4,058,000 on December 31, 1933. By March i, 
1934 the total had again fallen to 3,374,000, or 2,630,000 less than the 
year before. On March 21, 1934, Hitler opened his second great drive 
against unemployment, with much trumpeting and a goal of two 
million more jobs. 1 In June it was announced that the remaining 
total of unemployed was 2,525,000, as compared with 5,039,000 a 
year before. The figure fell to 2,426,000 in August and 2,398,000 in 
September. If taken at their face value, these figures represent the 
largest decrease in unemployment in any major industrial country 
during the same period. r 

This achievement, however, is an appearance rather than a reality. 
The "battle against unemployment" was from the beginning a sym- 
bolic test of the Nazi regime. No efforts were spared to reduce the 
unemployment figures sharply. There are approximately 20,000,000 
German adults normally employed in industry and commerce. 2 The 
Kr an {en fasten statistics, which include practically all employed per- 
sons in the Reich, listed 14,336,000 regularly employed (monthly 
average) in 1931, or 69.1 per cent of the total number of potential 
workers, and 11,983,000 (63.5 per cent) in December 1932. At the 
end of 1933, when Hitler claimed to have found work for almost two 
million jobless, the number of regularly employed persons had risen 
to 13,300,000 only 1,300,000 more than the year before. Many other 
contradictions can be found in the official statistics. Thousands who 

1 V.B., March 22, 1934. 

2 The Statistischcs ]ahrbuch fur das deutsche Reich, 1933, p. 19, gives a total of 32,- 
009,000 gainfully occupied persons in 1925, of whom 13*239,000 were in industry 
and hand work, 5,274,000 in trade and transport, and 1)643,000 in domestic service. 
GL also p. 290. 


lost their positions as the result of anti-Jewish and anti-Marxist legis- 
lation are not registered as unemployed entitled to relief. Hundreds 
of thousands have been stricken from the relief rolls on other 
grounds. The "invisible" unemployed that is, those still jobless, but 
not registered as such have increased enormously. The Institut fiir 
Konjunkturforschung estimated that there were 2,000,000 invisible 
unemployed in March I934- 1 Substitute employment, part-time work 
shared with those already employed, emergency work, and labour 
service account for most of the apparent decline of unemployment. 
The displacement of women workers and of unmarried men by 
heads of families accounts for the remainder. Of those restored to 
work between January 1933 and March 1934, only 12.8 per cent were 

Compulsory labour service has been one of the favourite panaceas 
of the regime. After much experimentation and delay, caused in 
part by foreign protests against what was regarded as thinly veiled 
military conscription, steps were taken in the summer of 1934 to 
introduce universal and obligatory labour service. There were already 
200,000 men in voluntary labour camps under Briining probably a 
larger figure than in 1933. In the Third Reich the camps were mili- 
tarized. All university students, aspirants to certain professions, and 
many unmarried unemployed have bten obliged to take work of this 
kind. Universal compulsory labour service for all males between 
seventeen and twenty-five years of age was decreed locally in a num- 
ber of districts in June 1934. On July 12 it was announced that 300,000 
young men would be compelled to enter camps by the end of the 
year. Party leaders in Saxony called upon all young workers to quit 
their jobs and enter the labour camps. At Niirnberg in September 
1934 Hitler reviewed 52,000 youths bearing shovels. While no na- 
tional system of compulsory labour service has yet been announced, 
at least a quarter of a million young workers were "voluntarily" in 
camps in the autumn of 1934. In this fashion youth is kept out of the 
labour market, jobs are created for older workers, and unemploy- 
ment is reduced. The camp inmates drill, build roads, clear land, 
construct canals, or in some cases carry dirt from place to place more 
or less aimlessly. Living and working conditions in some of the 
camps were such as to cause insubordination and rioting in Novem- 
ber 1934, followed by arrests. 

1 The New Yor% Times, March 10, 1934. 


Public works and business recovery have also absorbed many of 
the unemployed. A "work-creation program" was initiated on an 
extensive scale by Briining and Papen and was financed by tax cer- 
tificates and short-term borrowing. Since 1932, 5,400,000,000 marks 
have been allotted to this purpose, including Hitler's motor-roads 
program announced in June 1933. By June 1934 some two billion 
marks had been expended in this way. Many unemployed are 
obliged to accept jobs of this kind, under threats of being stricken 
from the relief rolls, and are paid less than they received in unem- 
ployment stipends. Perhaps half a million workers have been given 
jobs on public roads. The general business recovery which began in 
the summer of 1932 has continued, with minor recessions, and has 
absorbed over a million unemployed into industry and agriculture, 
though many of these are employed part time or have been placed 
in positions where they are not actually needed for purposes of pro- 
duction. At the end of July 1934 German industry was producing 
46 per cent more than in 1932 and only 10 per cent less than in 1928. 
By September 1934 it was estimated that 63 per cent of the loss of 
production during the depression had been recovered. 1 Some fifteen 
million people were employed, as compared with almost nineteen 
million in June 1929. 

This improvement has beendue entirely to domestic factors, since 
the Reich's foreign trade has continued to decline rapidly. While it 
is in part attributable to the government's program, it parallels de- 
velopments in other industrial countries. And in Germany, as else- 
where, it is already clear that a complete restoration of productivity 
to pre-depression levels will not by any means absorb the number of